The determinants of export performance of firms in selected MENA countries

FEM41-12 | February 2017


« The determinants of export performance of firms in selected MENA countries »


Dr. Jan Jakub Michałek (University of Warsaw, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Poland); Dr. Andrzej Cieślik (Faculty of Economic Sciences, Poland); Dr. Alfred Tovias (Hebrew University, Israel); Beáta Itina-Shwartz (Hebrew University, Israel)


University of Warsaw, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Poland; Hebrew University, Israel

Note :

This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union within the context of the EU-FEMISE project “Support to economic research, studies and dialogue of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”.. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

Summary :

In this paper we study the determinants of export performance of firms in selected MENA countries jointly and separately and compare them to the performance of firms from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

The analysis is based on information on individual firms contained in the BEEPS V data base, and covers the period of 2011-2014. We estimate the probability of exports controlling for country and sector specific effects using the probit model. We find that in both groups of countries similar variables affect firm export performance.

Our empirical results obtained for the MENA and CEE countries indicate that theprobability of exporting is positively related to thelevel of productivity, firm size, spending on research and development, the share of university graduates in productive employment and the internationalization of firms. State ownership and the perception of corruption by firms are mostly not statistically significant.

The results obtained for the two groups of countries are statistically not very different, but enough to have some policy implications while results for particular countries and sub-groups of countries reveal a large degree of heterogeneity.

This paper is organized as follows. In Section 1 we survey the relevant literature on the determinants of export performance. In Section 2 we describe the research methodology and the dataset. In Section 3 we report our empirical results. Finally, the last section summarizes and concludes with policy guidelines and directions for future research.