International Economics and Economic Policy

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 521–547 | Cite as

Economic performance and international trade engagement: the case of Portuguese manufacturing firms

Original Paper


By combining economic and financial data for Portuguese manufacturing firms with data on their exports and imports, we uncover some aspects of the relationship between international trade engagement and firms’ performances. In line with recent theoretical and empirical developments in the international trade literature: (i) we testify that Portuguese international trade is highly concentrated, especially on the import side, and both in inter- and intra-sector terms; (ii) we corroborate previous studies and theses according to which two-way traders outperform only importers, only exporters and above all domestic firms; (iii) we find that the greater the diversification of markets and goods (especially with regard to imports), the better the performance achieved by internationalised firms; (iv) we notice that the higher the intensity of firms’ international trade (especially imports), the better their performance; (v) we also present evidence that destination markets for exports and origin markets for imports are also important in explaining firm’s performance.


International trade Firm performance Diversification 
JEL classification C23 F14 F23 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Armando Silva
    • 1
  • Oscar Afonso
    • 2
  • Ana Paula Africano
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto Politécnico do Porto - ESEIGPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculdade de EconomiaUniversidade do Porto, CEFUP and OBEGEFPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Faculdade de EconomiaUniversidade do Porto and CEFUPPortoPortugal

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