The new heterogeneous firm models in international economics predict a negative impact of trade openness on within-sector productivity disparities, due to a restructuring process leading to a reallocation of resources towards more efficient firms and the exit of less productive ones. I test this hypothesis for the Italian manufacturing sectors making use of panel data models. I investigate the existence of heterogeneous effects in terms of origin of imports and I account for a geographical dimension computing the productivity dispersion indicator by sector and regional macro-area. The analysis is implemented within a comprehensive framework controlling for other potential determinants, such as technological factors and domestic competition. My findings show that competitive pressure from low income countries reduces the productivity heterogeneity across firms. On the contrary, a positive impact is detected for the increased availability of intermediates originating from developed countries. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
- firm heterogeneity