Leonardo Iacovone, Mariana Pereira-López, Marc Schiffbauer, 30 October 2017

In spite of its potential, the use of digital technology is still basic in most developing countries. This column presents evidence that firms in Mexico facing higher external competition have used IT more intensively and efficiently. External competition has encouraged them to make the necessary complementary investments in innovation and organisational changes.

Lionel Fontagné, Gianluca Orefice, 18 December 2016

Regulation is a barrier to trade. This column uses French firm-level panel data to assess how technical barriers to trade impact firms’ exports. In the presence of stringent barriers, exporters balance the cost of complying with this regulation against the fixed cost of entering a new market. Barriers reduce the number of exporting firms in each sector-destination, especially in sectors with many multi-destination firms.

David Atkin, Amit Khandelwal, Adam Osman, 04 December 2014

The WTO’s Aid-for-Trade Initiative, based on the belief that exporting improves the productivity of firms, is meant to bring about growth and reduce poverty. However, we know very little about whether exporting improves firm performance, and if so, through what mechanisms. This column, based on a randomised control trial in Egypt, unravels the channels through which exporting increased the productivity of rug manufacturers.

Jerónimo Carballo, Christian Volpe, Ana Cusolito, 13 July 2013

Expanding road infrastructure is often justified on the basis of its presumed effects on exports. Yet, available evidence on to what extent these effects really materialise is very limited due to difficulties faced in convincingly identifying true casual relationships. Historical road networks can help overcome this endogeneity challenge. This column provides evidence for Peru based on the Inca road network and suggests that improvements in road infrastructure have had a significant impact on firms’ exports and thereby on job creation.

Carlo Altomonte, Gábor Békés, 19 November 2010

The export performance of domestic firms is at the centre of many policy debates on growth and development. This column argues that in a world with global value chains and vertical specialisation, competitiveness also derives from a proper integration into international networks of production. Policymakers should care about both the import and the export capacity of their firms, and the complexity of these activities.

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