Tuesday, 2 June, 2009 | 08:30 | Defense

Branislav Saxa: “Essays on Exporting Behavior of Firms and on Inflation Persistence”

Dissertation Committee:
Jan Hanousek (chair)
Evžen Kočenda
Lubomír Lízal
Krešimir Žigić



In the first two essays, I examine the behavior of exporters and non-exporters using a rich firmlevel panel data source from the Czech Republic. The first essay reacts to recent literature on learning-by exporting and explores whether exporting firms are more productive because initially more productive firms self-select themselves into exporting or because exporting firms are becoming more productive. To provide convincing estimates, one must be able to disentangle learning-by-exporting from changes in company management that induce the company to both start exporting and introduce productivity increasing measures. Therefore, I compare estimates based on matching on propensity score, which do not control for potential management changes, to estimates based on an instrumental variables strategy. Specifically, I focus on firms that start exporting due to changes in the industry-specific ratio of producer prices on domestic and foreign markets. The results suggest that learning-by-exporting in the Czech Republic is not significant, either statistically or economically, irrespective of the method used.

In the second essay, I estimate the role of sunk costs connected with entry into foreign markets. Results suggest that costs are significant but not different for firms with domestic and foreign owners. In addition, I find that exporters with foreign owners are twice less responsive to exchange rate changes than exporters with domestic owners, but more responsive to changes in the volatility of exchange rates. This analysis shows to what extent exchange rate management is meaningful in small open economies and how growing shares of foreign-owned firms changes the responsiveness of foreign trade to exchange rates movements.

Finally, in the third essay, coauthored with Michal Franta and Kateřina Šmídková, we study how the choice of estimation method influences the comparison of inflation persistence estimates between new EU member states and euro zone countries. We argue that persistence may not be as different between the two country groups as one might expect. It is shown that one should work carefully with the usual estimation methods when analyzing the new member states, given the scope of the convergence process they went through. Since differences in inflation persistence play a role in the debate on the timing of euro adoption, our results provide a new perspective on inflation persistence differentials.

Full Text: “Essays on Exporting Behavior of Firms and on Inflation Persistence” by Branislav Saxa