Imports and productivity: the impact of geography and factor intensity

Marcel van den Berg*, Charles van Marrewijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Usingmicro-data for Dutch firms, we argue that both the geographic component (what country is the import from) and the intensity component (what type of good is imported) is crucial for measuring and understanding productivity premia associated with importing. For example, our results indicate that the productivity premium associated with importing technology-intensive products from Taiwan differs from importing unskilled-labor-intensive products from Switzerland. We show that increasing distance and decreasing levels of development of the origin economy are negatively associated with the productivity premia of importing. Similarly, these premia are larger for technology- intensive goods and smaller for unskilled-labor-intensive goods. This implies that the geographic-intensity markets are unique and cannot be lumped together. In addition, a more dispersed import portfolio (the extensive dimension) is always positively associated with firm-level productivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-450
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of International Trade and Economic Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • factor intensity
  • Firm heterogeneity
  • geography
  • imports
  • productivity


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