Innovation and export performance : a study of Italian high-tech SMEs

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The objective of the paper is to examine the influence of innovation measures on the export intensity of Italian high technology small and medium firms. In fact, despite a growing number of empirical studies attempting to guide the approximation of the value of innovation and its relative impact on the export intensity, a distinction between innovation input and output indicators, both internal and external to the firms has not been clearly established. Drawing on the innovation and export management literature, we used a sample of Italian firms operating in the high tech settings within the manufacturing industry (HTSMEs). Applying a 3 years lag time approach, we ran various Tobit regression models. Our empirical results revealed that: (1) R&D employees do positively and significantly impact the export intensity of HTSMEs, whereas R&D expenditures do not; (2) the use of ‘Universities’ as external R&D partners has a positive influence on the export intensity of HTSMEs; (3) ‘Product innovations’ and the ‘Turnover derived from innovative activities’ positively and significantly affect the export intensity of firms in our sample.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-423
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Export intensity


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