The purpose of this paper is to estimate both direct and indirect channels through which imported inputs spur exporting in the African manufacturing sector.
The authors estimated models for all exporters, direct exporters and indirect exporters using a probit model. The authors circumvented the endogeneity of imported inputs and productivity in the export status models by using their lagged values. The authors employed the World Bank Enterprise Survey data for a set of 26 African countries.
From the direct channel, the authors find that importers of inputs in the previous period increase the probability of exporting in the current period pointing to the possibility of sunk cost complementarities. Indirectly, high lagged firm productivity spurs exporting in the current period. Being a direct importer of inputs in the previous period increases the probability of exporting directly but has no effect on indirect exporters. Both channels are complimentary because their interaction term is positive and significant.
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