Title: Export diversity and the relevance of different forms of market experience

Authors: Marco Alvarado; Esteban Lafuente; Ronald Mora-Esquivel

Addresses: Business School, Costa Rica Institute of Technology (ITCR), Cartago, Costa Rica ' Department of Management, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC Barcelona Tech), Barcelona, Spain ' Business School, Costa Rica Institute of Technology (ITCR), Cartago, Costa Rica

Abstract: This study evaluates how different forms of human capital - i.e., formal management studies, labour market experience and experience in multinational businesses - explain the export diversity of SMEs, defined as the number of foreign market destinations where the business sells its goods or services. The proposed hypotheses are tested using negative binomial regression models on a unique sample of 117 Costa Rican SMEs for 2017. The findings reveal that labour experience in multinational firms - in particular, experience in managerial positions - is a relevant source of human capital that equip entrepreneurs with specific know-how that is conducive to export diversity, in terms of number of market destinations. Results also show that firm size, age and online sales (e-commerce) are positively correlated to export diversity. Beyond canonical export-related measures, this study offers insights on the importance of including the number of foreign markets (market destinations) in the evaluation of the export performance of SMEs.

Keywords: export diversity; market destinations; human capital; Costa Rica; small and medium sized enterprises; SMEs.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBE.2019.097970

International Journal of Business Environment, 2019 Vol.10 No.3, pp.209 - 226

Received: 16 Jun 2018
Accepted: 22 Aug 2018

Published online: 19 Feb 2019 *

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