When do firms learn? Learning before versus after exporting

Ferran Vendrell-Herrero*, Emanuel Gomes, Christian K. Darko, David W. Lehman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Organizational learning begins with experience. However, it remains an open question whether firms learn from a particular type of experience: exporting. This study aims to speak into this debate by examining when learning by exporting occurs. Our core thesis is that the timing of learning by exporting depends on a firm’s home market economic development. Drawing on classic theories of organizational learning, we posit that firms in more developed home markets will enjoy greater opportunities for learning before exporting whereas firms in less developed home markets will enjoy greater opportunities for learning after exporting. The former will be observed as a divergence in productivity among firms from different home markets, whereas the latter will be observed as convergence over time. The proposed hypotheses were tested and supported using longitudinal data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey. A range of theoretical and practical contributions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalSmall Business Economics
Early online date10 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • learning-by-exporting
  • organizational learning
  • home market economic development
  • World Bank Enterprise Survey
  • great convergence
  • great divergence

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