Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 56–75 | Cite as

Innovation and internationalization through exports

  • Bruno CassimanEmail author
  • Elena Golovko


Successful product innovation leads to the decision by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to enter the export market. We argue that in addition to a direct effect of innovation on exports, product innovation, through its effect on firm productivity, increases the likelihood of the firm entering the export market. Using a panel of Spanish manufacturing firms, we show that the strong positive association found between firm productivity and exports in the literature relates to the firm’s earlier innovation decisions, and that, when controlling for product innovation, the relationship between productivity and exports vanishes for these innovating firms.


exports innovation product innovation process innovation productivity 



We are grateful for the comments received from José Manuel Campa, seminar participants at the Jornadas de Economia Industrial in Barcelona, the EARIE conference in Amsterdam, and the editor and three anonymous reviewers. This paper was circulated previously under the title “Innovation and the export – productivity link”. We acknowledge financial support from the Anselmo Rubiralta Center for Globalization and Strategy and the Public – Private Sector (SP – SP) Research Center at IESE Business School, the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science and Technology for projects no. SEJ2006-11833/ECON and no. ECO2009-13169, and Catalan Government Grant no. 2009-SGR919.


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Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IESE Business SchoolBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Managerial EconomicsStrategy and Innovation, K.U. LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.CEPRBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Department of Organization & StrategyCIR and CentER, Tilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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