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Dynamic effects of institutions on firm-level exports

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Bengt Söderlund, Export, Företagandets villkor, Institutionell ekonomi, Mikrodata, Patrik Tingvall

Abstract

The gap between theoretically predicted trade patterns and actual trade suggests that our understanding of what shapes trade patterns is incomplete. Institutional barriers may be one factor behind this gap, and recent research suggests that institutions are a greater obstacle to trade than tariffs. Using detailed firm-level data, we analyze how institutional quality in recipient countries affects exports by Swedish firms. Our results suggest that weak institutions in recipient countries make exports to these countries less likely and that exports to countries with weak institutions are characterized by relatively short duration and small volume. Analyzing long-term trade flows, we identified a learning process where exporters become less dependent on institutional quality in the target economy over time. More specifically, in addition to previous research that emphasize learning related to knowledge about the contracting partner and rule of law, we extend this notion and show that there is also a learning process where firms acquire knowledge about the general business climate. When learning about the contractual partner and business institutions in recipients countries takes place, exports increase relatively quickly during the first 2 years of exports and thereafter levels out. Hence, firms that are initially sensitive to weak institutions, start small, and learn how to handle foreign institutions are likely to be most successful in maintaining long-term relationships with foreign markets.

Related content: Working Paper No. 184

Söderlund, B. & Gustavsson Tingvall, P. (2014). Dynamic effects of institutions on firm-level exports.Review of World Economics, 150(2), 277-308. DOI: 10.1007/s10290-013-0181-2

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Dynamic effects of institutions on firm-level exports
Artikel (med peer review)Publication
Söderlund, B. & Gustavsson Tingvall, P.
Publication year

2014

Abstract

The gap between theoretically predicted trade patterns and actual trade suggests that our understanding of what shapes trade patterns is incomplete. Institutional barriers may be one factor behind this gap, and recent research suggests that institutions are a greater obstacle to trade than tariffs. Using detailed firm-level data, we analyze how institutional quality in recipient countries affects exports by Swedish firms. Our results suggest that weak institutions in recipient countries make exports to these countries less likely and that exports to countries with weak institutions are characterized by relatively short duration and small volume. Analyzing long-term trade flows, we identified a learning process where exporters become less dependent on institutional quality in the target economy over time. More specifically, in addition to previous research that emphasize learning related to knowledge about the contracting partner and rule of law, we extend this notion and show that there is also a learning process where firms acquire knowledge about the general business climate. When learning about the contractual partner and business institutions in recipients countries takes place, exports increase relatively quickly during the first 2 years of exports and thereafter levels out. Hence, firms that are initially sensitive to weak institutions, start small, and learn how to handle foreign institutions are likely to be most successful in maintaining long-term relationships with foreign markets.

Related content: Working Paper No. 184

Ratio Working Paper No. 234: Capital Freedom, Financial Development and Provincial Economic Growth in China
Working paperPublication
Söderlund, B. & Gustavsson Tingvall, P.
Publication year

2014

Abstract

For more than three decades, China has managed to combine rapid economic growth with a heavily regulated financial sector. The discrepancy between economic and financial development has raised the question of whether China might be an exception to the so-called finance-growth nexus. This study examines the relationship between finance and growth at the provincial level in China using a new set of measures of capital freedom and financial development. The results indicate that capital freedom and financial development are associated with both higher income and growth rates. In particular, we find that the marketization of financial institutions and strengthening of legal and government institutions have a particularly strong impact on income and growth in low-income provinces.

Related content: Capital Freedom, Financial Development and Provincial Economic Growth in China

Ratio Working Paper No. 234: Capital Freedom, Financial Development and Provincial Economic Growth in China
Working paperPublication
Söderlund, B. & Gustavsson Tingvall, P.
Publication year

2014

Abstract

For more than three decades, China has managed to combine rapid economic growth with a heavily regulated financial sector. The discrepancy between economic and financial development has raised the question of whether China might be an exception to the so-called finance-growth nexus. This study examines the relationship between finance and growth at the provincial level in China using a new set of measures of capital freedom and financial development. The results indicate that capital freedom and financial development are associated with both higher income and growth rates. In particular, we find that the marketization of financial institutions and strengthening of legal and government institutions have a particularly strong impact on income and growth in low-income provinces.

Related content: Capital Freedom, Financial Development and Provincial Economic Growth in China

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