This paper shows that the impact of import penetration on firms’ productivity growth depends on firms’ distance to the efficiency frontier and on product market regulation. Using firm-level data for a substantial number of OECD countries from the late 1990s to late 2000s, the analysis reveals nonlinear effects of both sectoral import penetration and de jure productmarket regulationmeasures, depending on firms’ positions along the global distribution of productivity. Close to the technology frontier, import penetration has a strongly positive effect on firm-level productivity growth, with less stringent domestic regulation enhancing this effect substantially. However, far from the frontier, the effect of import penetration on firm-level productivity growth is much smaller and often not significant. Its interaction with domestic regulation generally has no statistically significant effect either. The heterogeneous effects of import penetration and domestic product market regulation on firm-level productivity growth are consistent with a neo-Schumpeterian view of trade and regulation.
Ben Yahmed, Sarra and Sean Dougherty (2017), Domestic regulation, import penetration and firm-level productivity growth, The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development. Download