Discussion Papers

Foreign Market Experience, Learning by Hiring and Firm Export


Foreign Market Experience, Learning by Hiring and Firm Export

Authors: Masso, J. , Rõigas, K. and Vahter, P.
Published: September 2014
Keywords: export experience, export entry, labour mobility, learning-to-export
JEL classification: F10, F14, J31


Export experience of managers and other top specialists is among the key drivers of export decisions in firms. We show evidence of this regularity based on employer-employee level data from the manufacturing industry in Estonia. We find that hiring managers and other high-wage employees with prior experience in exporting to a specific geographical region is associated with a higher probability of export entry to that region. However, there is little evidence of significant effects on export intensity. Notably, the relationship between export experience and a firm’s export decisions is usually stronger if the prior export experience is from an exporter that is located nearby in the product space. Our findings suggest that the contribution of prior trade experience of employees and the firm’s productivity as drivers of export market entry are of comparable magnitude.

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