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What makes a successful export? Evidence from firm-product- level data


  • Holger Görg is also affiliated with CEPR and GlobID at Aarhus University. Richard Kneller is also affiliated with CESIFO. The authors are grateful to Steve Redding, seminar participants at the University of Hamburg, Kiel Institute, and at the EIIE conference in Koper, and two anonymous referees for very helpful comments. We also thank László Halpern for providing the data and for his excellent comments and István Ilyés for excellent research assistance. Richard Kneller thanks the Leverhulme Trust for financial support through Programme Grant F114/BF. This paper is produced within MICRO-DYN (, funded by the EU Sixth Framework Programme. It reflects only the author's views; the European Community is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein. Email:


Abstract We analyse a very rich and unique panel database that provides information on exports at the firm-product level. Motivated by the recent theory of multi-product firms, we investigate what determines the survival of products in the export mix to find that, in export dynamics, characteristics of the product as well as that of the firm matter. In particular, firm productivity as well as product scale and tenure are associated with a higher export survival rate. This suggests, in line with theory, that there are firm- as well as firm-product-specific competencies that are important for shaping firms’ export mix.


On analyse une base de données unique et très riche qui fournit des renseignements sur les exportations au niveau du produit et de la firme. Motivé par une théorie récente des firmes multi-produits, les auteurs examinent ce qui détermine la survie des produits dans le mélange des exportations. On découvre que dans la dynamique des exportations, les caractéristiques des produits et de la firme comptent. En particulier, la productivité de la firme tout autant que l’échelle et la pérennité du produit sont associées à un taux de survie plus élevé de l’exportation. Voilà qui suggère que, comme le veut la théorie, qu’il existe des compétences spécifiques de la firme tout autant que des compétences attachées à la jonction firme-produit qui sont importantes dans la conformation du mélange d’exportations des firmes.

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