Importing and firm export performance
New evidence from South Africa
This article uses firm-level data from company income tax and customs declarations from South Africa to analyse the complementary relationship between direct access to imported intermediate inputs and firm exports in the manufacturing industry.
There are two main findings. The first is on firm heterogeneity, showing that firms that import and export consistently demonstrate premiums in terms of productivity, employment, wages and capital intensity in production compared to firms that do not trade, or only export or import. The second supports the hypothesis that importing raises exports, especially if inputs are sourced from advanced economies.