What drives export performance of firms in Eastern and Western Poland?
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We use a unique firm-level survey dataset that draws from the EFIGE (European Firms In Global Economy) questionnaire, to unveil differences in factors driving export performance in structurally most diverse areas of Poland. While conventional results about the role of size, foreign ownership and innovation activity are confirmed at the aggregate level, the picture breaks down when Western and Eastern macroregions are extracted. Our results suggest that the common perception of a more developed West (Poland “A”) and a backward East (Poland “B”) might be outdated. Rather, firms in both regions seem to follow distinct strategies and have dissimilar success factors for competing internationally. Interestingly, export performance in the East is found to benefit from family ties in business, but also product innovation and non-price competitiveness. In the West, it is in turn associated mostly with size and foreign ownership. Overall, our results on the one hand add support to the ‘New’ new trade theory and ‘New’ new economic geography’s premises related to the importance of microeconomic factors and, on the other, shed a new light on the pattern of regional development in Poland. We also discuss some implications for policy makers and managers and suggest directions of further research.
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