This paper studies the dynamics of the export behaviour of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the U.K. between 1994 and 1998. I use a dynamic empirical model to disentangle three distinct dimensions of a firms’ participation in foreign markets: sunk cost induced hysteresis, firm heterogeneity and macroeconomic instability. The results show that SMEs view exporting as an irreversible investment, with state dependence being the largest explanatory factor. Moreover, observable firm characteristics, such as size and ownership, play a significant role in distinguishing exporters from non-exporters. Finally, there is no evidence that the 1992–1993 recession influenced firms’ export decisions in subsequent years implying that the results provide a valid indication of SMEs "typical" export behaviour.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 17, 2003
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