Journal of Management & Governance

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 393–423 | Cite as

Innovation and export performance: a study of Italian high-tech SMEs

  • Alfredo D’AngeloEmail author


The objective of the paper is to examine the influence of innovation measures on the export intensity of Italian high technology small and medium firms. In fact, despite a growing number of empirical studies attempting to guide the approximation of the value of innovation and its relative impact on the export intensity, a distinction between innovation input and output indicators, both internal and external to the firms has not been clearly established. Drawing on the innovation and export management literature, we used a sample of Italian firms operating in the high tech settings within the manufacturing industry (HTSMEs). Applying a 3 years lag time approach, we ran various Tobit regression models. Our empirical results revealed that: (1) R&D employees do positively and significantly impact the export intensity of HTSMEs, whereas R&D expenditures do not; (2) the use of ‘Universities’ as external R&D partners has a positive influence on the export intensity of HTSMEs; (3) ‘Product innovations’ and the ‘Turnover derived from innovative activities’ positively and significantly affect the export intensity of firms in our sample.


Export intensity Innovation R&D High technology small and medium firms 



This paper has benefited from the constructive comments of participants at AIB-UK Chapter hosted at University of Glasgow (UK) and EIBA Conference hosted at University of Valencia (Spain). I would like to thank A. Zucchella and E. Cotta Ramusino from University of Pavia (Italy) for their helpful recommendation and guidance. I am also grateful to A. Majocchi form the Center for International Business & International Economy (CIBIE) at University of Pavia (Italy) for his comments and statistical advice. The contribution of two referees significantly improved the paper. I would like to dedicate this paper to the memory of my mentor Professor Jim Bell (1954–2009).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, Business and Statistics. Faculty of Political ScienceUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

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