Learning from Exporting
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Learning from Exporting

New Insights, New Perspectives

Robert Salomon

This book explores the relationship between exports and productivity. Whilst a body of research indicates that exporters have superior productivity to non-exporters, received wisdom suggests that this is because productive firms became exporters. Robert Salomon approaches this issue from a different angle. He argues that exporters can access diverse knowledge inputs that are not available in the domestic market, and that this knowledge can spill back to the focal firm and, through learning, can foster increased innovation. Therefore, exporting can also make firms more productive.
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Chapter 9: Summary and Conclusion

Robert Salomon


INTRODUCTION This book examines how exporting influences firm innovation. Specifically, it examines whether exporting leads to firm innovation, how exporting influences innovation, and which firms (from which industries) stand to benefit more from exporting. This chapter summarizes the findings, highlighting relevant contributions for research and practice. I also suggest directions for future research and acknowledge limitations. 9.2 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS I first sought to address whether exporting makes firms more innovative. My basic assertion was that foreign market contact (via exporting) provides firms with exposure to diverse external knowledge inputs that they can use to increase innovative output. The findings confirm that a firm can increase its ex post innovative productivity by participating in export markets. While these effects differed across dependent variables, exporting preceded innovation in all cases. The most interesting implications may be gleaned from juxtaposing the findings for product innovations against those for patent applications. Firms that become exporters in a given year experience more product innovation the following year. However, it takes firms far longer to realize those gains on the patent side. The firm that becomes an exporter this year does not experience increased patent activity until three years later. Because the product innovation dependent variable includes improvements and modifications to existing products, this result likely captures the effect of consumer feedback on the learning process. That is, firms gather market knowledge from their customers and quickly respond to market feedback by modifying their product o...

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