Why Do Some Firms Persistently Outperform Others? An investigation of the interactions between innovation and export strategies

Author Name ITO Keiko  (Senshu University) /Sébastien LECHEVALIER  (L'Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales (EHESS) (Paris))
Creation Date/NO. June 2010 10-E-037
Research Project Productivity of Industries and Firms and Japanese Economic Growth
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Although heterogeneity in the performance of firms is a well-established stylized fact, we still lack full understanding of its origins and the reasons why it persists. Instead of assuming that performance differences are exogenous, this paper focuses on two endogenous strategies - innovation and global engagement - and interprets them as two ways to accumulate knowledge and improve firms' capabilities. We are particularly interested in analyzing interactions between these strategies and their effect on firms' performance. By using a firm-level panel dataset drawn from a Japanese large-scale administrative survey for the years 1994 - 2003, we first find that innovation and exporting strategies are characterized by complementarities, which define coherent productive models or patterns of learning. Second, we show that these different strategies lead to various performances in terms of productivity and survival. Third, by using a propensity score matching approach, we show that these differences in performance are lasting. Overall, our paper shows that the interaction of innovation and export investments is a source of permanent differences in performance among firms.