Exports versus FDI in German Manifacturing: Firm Performance and Participants in International Markets

J.M. Arnold*, K. Hussinger

*Corresponding author for this work

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Recent theoretical work has been able to explain how even within narrowly defined industries, firms can exhibit heterogeneous degrees of participation in international commerce. Differences in productivity between firms are the principal explanation offered by theory to explain heterogeneity with respect to international commerce. In particular, theory predicts that the least productive firms will produce for the domestic market only, while better performers engage in export activities, and the top firms establish foreign subsidiaries. This paper presents an empirical test of the relationship between productivity and patterns of international trade and production. Using german firm-level data from 1996 to 2002, we test the predicted rank ordering of productivity according to firms’ trade pattern by examining the distribution functions of the three subsets of firms for stochastic dominance. Our results are generally consistent with the predictions from theory, and document significant productivity differences according to trade patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-606
JournalReview of International Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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