The aim of this study is to discuss the empirical literature which analyzes the relationship between firms heterogeneity and export activity on Italian manufacturing firm level data. We first present a short review of the main empirical techniques adopted in the applied literature and we briefly summarize the most relevant theoretical models. In the following sections, we survey studies investigating which firms characteristics are more likely to favour the exporting activity and papers which address the impact of exporting on firm performance. Most studies suggest that more productive and innovative firms are more likely to enter international markets and exhibit higher export intensity; moreover, future exporters start performing better some years before entering international markets and such differential are persistent over time. Possible further extensions and policy implications of the empirical findings are finally discussed.
Keywords: Exports, firm performance, firm heterogeneity, survey, Italy
Jel Code: F1, D2, L2