What are the consequences for innovation of fast, short-term changes in exporting activity? Building on the learning by exporting literature and using a sample of 880 Italian manufacturing firms over two successive time periods, our study reveals key asymmetries. First, a rapid increase in export breadth, but not in export depth, reduces the firm’s probability of developing new innovative outputs. Second, no such effects are found in the case of a decrease in firms’ exporting activity. Third, both absorptive capacity and foreign collaborative agreements facilitate the absorption of the shock occurring when firms experience a rapid increase in export breadth, but not when the rapid increase takes place in export depth. Theoretical and managerial implications emerge from this research.
- Learning by exporting, Product innovation, Absorptive capacity, Collaborative agreements