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Mohieddine Rahmouni
''Innovativeness of Exporting firms in a Developing Country: The Case of Tunisia ''
( 2013, Vol. 33 No.2 )
The relationship between exports and the propensity to innovate is an important issue for a developing economy. This article is dedicated to this question through the analysis of the first innovation survey of Tunisian firms. In particular, it distinguishes the propensity to innovate among three categories of firms: pure exporters, that only address the foreign demand, pure domestic firms, and partial exporters. We explore this relationship as it can be qualified using econometric estimation (mainly Probit models) and non-parametrical regression trees on the results of the first community innovation survey in Tunisia. We find that the innovation behavior of the three categories of firms is strongly contrasted. Our results show firms that address both the domestic and foreign demands (partial-exporters) have the highest propensity to innovate. They better benefit from external sources of knowledge, as well as a diversified demand. We find that external knowledge sources, internal R&D efforts and some types of cooperative agreements are complementary for product innovation; but the first play an essential role, in the sense that firms must benefit from, at least, one external knowledge source to reach a significant innovation propensity.
Keywords: Innovation, exports, openness, development, absorptive capacity
JEL: O1 - Economic Development: General
O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development: General
Manuscript Received : May 10 2012 Manuscript Accepted : Apr 04 2013

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