Working Paper N° 316

The impact of export promotion on export market entry

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For small open economies, it is essential that many firms find their way to the export market and most governments provide some form of export promotion assistance. We use detailed firm-level data for Flanders, the largest region in Belgium, to evaluate whether its program raises firms' propensity to start exporting outside the EU single market. We find robust evidence for such an effect by relying on the selection-on-observables assumption which we implement using various estimators. Results remain positive and statistically signifcant, but are smaller in size, when we use two strategies to mitigate self-selection concerns: (i) focus on sub-samples of firms where endogenous selection into treatment is less likely, and (ii) use firms that receive the weakest form of support as controls for firms receiving more extensive support.