It is widely recognized that internationalisation is important in fulfilling and sustaining growth potential, especially for SMEs. Yet, evidence suggests that for many SMEs, exporting is often a rather opportunistic and episodic activity, rather than a continuous process. Building on previous ERC work on the determinants of intermittent exporting and on learning by exporting, this project will examine how different irregular versus persistent export patterns in export volume, product and destination impact on SME learning-by-exporting and productivity change.

. Initial analysis will use data covering almost the entire population of French firms sourced from the FICUS database spanning the period 1997-2007. If possible, HMRC export destination data at 4-digit product level will also be used, which will permit more fine-grained analysis for the UK.

The project will provide a deeper understanding of the effects of different exporting profiles on SME productivity and growth and add to our understanding of the learning-by-exporting effect: e.g. does intermittent exporting lead to sporadic ‘learning’ and episodic productivity growth?