摘要：Vietnam's exports in recent years are increasingly dependent on the growth of FDI enterprises.Meanwhile, state-owned enterprises, who were used to be the economic drivers of the country, face losses and inefficiencies.Private enterprises, which are mostly small and medium enterprises, account for 98％ of the total number of enterprises; however, they are not strongly involved in the export market.In this context, it is necessary to pay special attention to the integration into international markets of Vietnamese Small and Medium enterprises (SMEs).Vietnam has just issued the Law on Support for SMEs in 2017 but there are no specific policies to encourage exports for this group of enterprises.These real issues raise research questions: is entry into the export market effective for the operation of the business or not? What factors determine the decision to export of SMEs in Vietnam? Will the benefits (if any) of export participation change over time? Are they short-term or long-term effects? Answering these research questions allows us to have meaningful scientific evidences in designing policies that target the right people, at the right time and at the right place.To do this, it is necessary to have a study analyzing the relationship between exports and firm performance targeting directly the group of Vietnamese SMEs.And this is the driving force and direction of my dissertation research.
This dissertation focuses on the causal relationship between exporting and
performance of SMEs in Vietnam.This is the first quantitative study in Vietnam to test allthe three hypotheses: self-selection, learning-by-exporting and core-competence in research onexport performance of small and medium enterprises.These are the hypotheses that normally usedto explain for the causal relation between exporting and firm performance in the field.By using the latest surveys on Vietnamese SMEs, this study contributes to the assessment of the impact of exporting on the performance of firms over the years after the firm enters the export market.This study also allows us to answer the question of whether the benefits of learning-by-exporting are short-term or long-term benefits.The study also showed a positive relationship between the exporting and labor-intensity of firms.The methodology used in this research to analyze the three hypotheses include Heckman's dynamic random-effects probit and PSM in combinationwith Difference-in-Difference.
The study finds that first of all, Vietnamese SMEs exporters outperformed non-exporters inmany aspects of firm performance.Exporters were more productive with average TFP at 30-50 percentage points higher, labor productivities are 7-20percentage points higher than those of non-exporting firms.SMEs exporters also had higher average revenue and value added.Exporters werelarger in terms of capital size and employment size and paid higher wages to employees.However,unlike many researches that show that exporters are older in firm age, Vietnamese exporters had lower average firm age than non-exporters.This may reflects the fact of Vietnam's late joining to the world market (Vietnam officially became a member of the WTO in 2007, just about 10 years ago).Therefore, the recent generation of Vietnamese entrepreneurs have become more sensitive to international market's entrance, or perhaps the younger generation of businessmen has already set a goal of international trade in mind when they first started their operation.
The evidences of Vietnam SMEs self-selecting into the exporting markets are mixed.
Prior to entering international markets, future SMEs exporters are bigger in capital
size, but not necessarily more productive.In addition, entry cost or past export experience is the most important determinant of the decision to export of Vietnamese SMEs.Labor-intensive firms have higher probability to become exporters.This study also points out a significantly positive relationship between credit constraints and export status.Exporters seem facing larger credit constraints than non-exporting counterparts.These findings suggests that policy makers should consider policies that reduce sunk entry costs, support exporters in acquiring credits and pay more attention to labor-intensive industries in order to raise the number of exportersamong VietnamSMEs.
More importantly, the study finds significant evidence of learning-by-exporting effects
among Vietnamese SMEs.According to the results, export has really benefited enterprises by increasing various of performance characteristics such as firm productivity, total output, firm size and benefited employees by raising average wages.TFP of the newly entrants to exporting increased by 16-20 percentage points while labor productivity rose by 24-26 percentage points.Atthe same time, firm revenue and value added on average increased by 59 percentage points and 45-55 percentage points, respectively.After being exporters, firm sizes in terms of both capital size and labor size are raised by 38 and 28 percentage points correspondingly in comparison
with the control group of non-exporting firms.Exporting also brings about benefit for employees by boosting average wage per worker by over 80 percentage points.
Different from previous research on Vietnamese firms, this study makes an important contribution to the literature by analyzing the changes of learning effects over time. This study points out that gains from exporting through learning-by-exporting seems to be stronger in the first years after being exporters than in the later years.In particular,learning effects were higher and more significant right after and 2 years after SMEs joining exporting markets while these benefits seem decline 4 years after or more.This can be very well explained as the nature of the learning-by-doing is a problem solving process; and, if the problem is repeated, these learning effects might experience asharply diminishing returns (Arrow, 1971).These findings help policy makers identifying exactly the time point when their policies should come in placeto help maximize and prolong the gain from trade.
A major contribution of this study is to find the significance evidence of core-competenceeffect among Vietnamese SMEs.This research provides empiricalevidences of the positive relationship between exporting and labor intensity among Vietnam SMEs.Labor intensive enterprises self-selected to become exporters.In addition, exporting also caused firms to reallocates their resources towards concentrating on their core-competence which are labor-intensive products.This might imply that participation in international trade has not yet increased Vietnamese SMEs'capital intensity.Instead, the focus is still put on labor-intensive industries which are the competitive advantages of such a labor abundant, low-waged country like Vietnam.
This research provides meaningful policy implications.First of all, this research shows
that exporting can bring about significant gains to firm through learning-by-exporting effects as well as within-firm resource reallocation which increases firm's productivity.Therefore, this study can provide scientific evidences which support pro-export policies targeting Vietnamese SMEs.Secondly, this study also helps policy makers to target the right stakeholders, in the right time and the right place.By identifying the key determinants of entry into export markets which include entry costs, firm's capital size, credit constraints, and labor intensity, the study suggests issues that policymakers need special attention when designing policy packages.The study also shows that young fh-ms, new entrants to export markets and labor-intensive enterprises are more likely to engage in export and benefit more from learning-by-exporting.So, these are the stakeholders that policies should pay special attention to.Finally, as the study finds that benefits form learning-by-exporting are short-term and seem to occur in the early years of export market entry, this study points out the golden time for policy makers
and businesses to exploit the maximum benefits from exporting.