Review of World Economics

, Volume 153, Issue 4, pp 703–734 | Cite as

Microeconomic mechanisms behind export spillovers from FDI: evidence from Bulgaria

  • Andrea Ciani
  • Michele ImbrunoEmail author
Original Paper


This paper studies how the presence of multinational enterprises affects the export performance of Bulgarian manufacturing firms—export spillovers from FDI. Using export data at the firm/product/destination level for the period 2004–2006, it finds positive forward spillover on export value and quantity, related to quality upgrading. Conversely, it finds negative (or insignificant) backward and horizontal spillover on export flows, related to quality downgrading. When aggregating data at the firm level and considering that a firm can operate in several sectors, the paper shows that the presence of foreign input suppliers allows domestic firms to export additional varieties of lower quality and upgrade the average quality of existing varieties, whereas the presence of foreign customers generates the opposite effect.


Export spillover FDI Multi-product firms Unit value Quality 

JEL Classification

F14 F23 F61 



The authors are extremely grateful to the editor and two anonymous referees for their constructive comments. This paper also benefited from discussions with Simone Bertoli, Ana M. Fernandes, Beata S. Javorcik, Richard Kneller, Joel Stiebale, and participants at the conference on “Quality FDI, Growth and Development: Discussing the Impact and Policy Options” at UNIDO (Vienna), and CSAE 2017 conference at Oxford University. We thank them for helpful comments and suggestions. All remaining errors are the authors’ own. Michele Imbruno acknowledges the support received from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche of the French government through the program “Investissements d’avenir” (ANR-10-LABX-14-01).


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Copyright information

© Kiel Institute 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Düsseldorf Institute for Competition EconomicsUniversity of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.CERDI, CNRSUniversité Clermont AuvergneClermont-FerrandFrance
  3. 3.GEPUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUnited Kingdom

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