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Abstract

This paper revisits the empirical evidence about the link between firms’ performance and their international status, based on a large sample of Italian enterprises. To this purpose, we merged two waves of the Capitalia survey (1998-2000, and 2001-2003) retrieving firm level data for roughly 7,000 units. Three results stand out from our empirical exercise. First, firms that engage in the foreign production of final goods, in addition to export activities, are more productive than firms that only export abroad. Second, firms that engage in final goods off-shoring are more productive than firms that engage in inputs off-shoring. Third, in terms of the productivity dynamics over the period 1998-2003, exporters’ performance in Italy was not any better than the non-exporters’ one. Our results support the view that the better performance (in static terms) of globally engaged firms is chiefly due to the selection caused by the fixed costs associated to international operations.

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