Location of Repository

Do African manufacturing firms learn from exporting?

By Arne Bigsten, Paul Collier, Stefan Dercon, Marcel Fachamps, Bernard Gauthier, Jan Willem Gunning, Abena Oduro, Remco Oostendorp, Catherine Pattillo, Mans Soderbom, Francis Teal and Albert Zeufack


In this paper, we use firm-level panel data for the manufacturing sector in four African countries to estimate the effect of exporting on efficiency. Estimating simultaneously a production function and an export regression that control for unobserved firm effects, we find both significant efficiency gains from exporting, supporting the learning- byexporting hypothesis, and evidence for self-selection of more efficient firms into exporting. The evidence of learning-by-exporting suggests that Africa has much to gain from orientating its manufacturing sector towards exporting.

OAI identifier:

Suggested articles



  1. (2000). A Finite Sample Correction for the Variance of Linear Two-step GMM Estimators,’ IFS Working Paper 00/19. London: The Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. (1986). Analysis of Panel Data. Melbourne:
  3. (1995). Are Apparent Productive Spillovers a Figment of Specification Error?’
  4. (1990). Building Industrial Competitiveness in Developing Countries.
  5. (1991). Closing the Technology Gap: Does Trade Liberalization Really Help?’ in Trade Policy, Industrialization and Development: New Perspectives, edited by G. Helleiner.
  6. (1996). Competition and Corporate Performance,’
  7. (1997). Demand for Medical Care by the Elderly: a Finite Mixture Approach,’
  8. (1995). Discrete Factor Approximations For Use in Simultaneous Equation Models with Both Continuous and Discrete Endogenous Variables,’ mimeo.
  9. (1999). Discrete Factor Approximations in Simultaneous Equation Models: Estimating the Impact of a Dummy Endogenous Variable on a Continuous Outcome’,
  10. Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?’
  11. (1999). Exportations et performances economiques: Etude d'un panel d'entreprises chinoises, Revue d'Economie du Developpement
  12. Exporting and Productivity,’ mimeo.
  13. (2001). Finite Sample Inference for GMM Estimators in Linear Panel Data Models,’ mimeo. London: The Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  14. (1993). How Trade Liberalization Affected Productivity in Morocco,’ Policy Research Working Paper no 1096. Washington D.C.: The World Bank.
  15. (1988). Imperfect Competition, Scale Economies and Trade Policy in Developing Countries,’ in Trade Policy Issues and Empirical Analysis, edited by
  16. (1991). Innovation and growth in the Global Economy.
  17. (1998). Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence From Colombia, Mexico and Morocco,’
  18. (1982). Large Sample Properties of Generalized
  19. (2002). Learning to Export: Evidence from Moroccan Manufacturing,’ CSAE Working Paper WPS/2002-02. Oxford: Centre for the Study of African Economies,
  20. (1998). Numerical Methods in Economics.
  21. (1995). Productivity and the Export Market: A Firm-Level Analysis,’
  22. (1994). Productivity, Imperfect Competition, and Trade Reform: Theory and Evidence,’
  23. (2002). Size and Efficiency in African Manufacturing Firms: Evidence from Firm-Level Panel Data,’ mimeo. Oxford: Centre for the Study of African Economies,
  24. (2000). Skills, Investment and Exports from Manufacturing Firms in
  25. (1991). Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations,’
  26. (1981). Statistical Models for Discrete Panel Data,’ in Structural Analysis of Discrete Data with Econometric Applications,
  27. (1993). The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with
  28. (1993). The Effect of Rent Control on Housing Quality Change: A Longitudinal Analysis,’
  29. The Incidental Parameters Problem and the Problem of Initial Conditions in Estimating a Discrete Time-Discrete Data Stochastic Process,’ in Structural Analysis of Discrete Data with Econometric Applications,
  30. (1987). The Narrow Moving Bank, The Dutch Disease and the Competitive Consequences of Mrs Thatcher:
  31. (1972). The Translog Function and the Substitution of Equipment, Structures,
  32. (1982). Total Factor Productivity Growth,
  33. (1995). Trade Liberalization and the Dimensions of
  34. (2001). What’s Different about Exporters? Evidence from

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.