Chapter 8: Industry Heterogeneity in Learning by Exporting
* 8.1 INTRODUCTION The last few chapters explored whether, and how, ﬁrms can learn by exporting. I argued that ﬁrms stand to learn from exporting and from using particular export strategies. I conditioned that argument by reasoning that ﬁrms with knowledge assimilation capabilities would be in a better position to use the knowledge available in foreign markets; they would thereby beneﬁt more from exporting to achieve greater innovative output. Although I found evidence consistent with the former claims, I did not ﬁnd any systematic evidence to suggest that ﬁrms with knowledge assimilation capabilities gain disproportionately from exporting. In this chapter therefore I shift the focus up to the industry level, to see whether there are any systematic industry drivers of learning by exporting. Rather than explore whether superior ﬁrms learn more from exporting (for which I found no evidence), this chapter considers whether inferior ﬁrms (from industries in which Spain is a technological laggard) stand to beneﬁt disproportionately from exporting. Because ﬁrms from technologically lagging industries are, on average, farther from their industry’s technological frontier (in a macro sense), contrary to my claims in previous chapters, exposure to foreign knowledge through exporting might beneﬁt them disproportionately – resulting in a signiﬁcant increase in innovation rates. The next section brieﬂy reviews the literature on economic convergence and learning by exporting. Based on this review, I propose that ﬁrms in technologically inferior industries stand to learn more from exporting than those in technologically superior industries. The following section presents...
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