Austrian Exporters: A Firm-Level Analysis


Johannes Pöschl, Robert Stehrer and Roman Stöllinger

wiiw Working Paper No. 67, July 2010
32 pages including 14 Tables and 4 Figures

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In this paper we provide detailed evidence on the importance and performance of exporters compared to non-exporters in Austrian manufacturing industries based on firm-level data. The centrepiece of the study is the issue of the export premium, i.e. the size and performance advantages of exporting firms compared to their purely domestic peers. We find evidence for the existence of large export premia for all seven size and performance premia considered. These results are largely in line with the results found for other European countries. When estimating the export premium at the level of individual industries, we find significant differences with respect to the magnitude of the export premia. Significant export premia are still found when controlling for other firm characteristics such as employment and R&D-related variables where we find lower but more plausible magnitudes for the size and performance premia of exporters. We further test the robustness of the export premium results using random and also fixed effects estimators. The random effects model delivers statistically significant export premia for all measures as well. Care has to be taken when interpreting the estimated coefficients in the firm fixed effects model as the coefficients signal differences in size and productivity for 'export switchers', i.e. firms changing their export status. Finally we employ a probit model to investigate the impact of past firm characteristics on the probability to export. The major result is that while lagged firm productivity and size matter, the most important factor influencing this probability is the past export status pointing to a strong persistence of exporting.


Keywords: exports, firm heterogeneity, export premium, Austrian manufacturing firms

JEL classification: F14, L25

Countries covered: Austria

Research Areas: International Trade, Competitiveness and FDI