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Small firm exporters in a developing economy context: evidence from Ghana

Robson, P.J.A. and Freel, M. (2008) Small firm exporters in a developing economy context: evidence from Ghana. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 20 (5). pp. 431-450. ISSN 0898-5626

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A cursory review of the industrial policies of most nations suggests that exporting matters. Identifying exporting firms and facilitating their endeavours (or encouraging others to emulate them) are familiar policy themes, and studies of the relationship between firm characteristics and the propensity to export are common in the academic literature. Yet, the context for the bulk of these studies is provided by developed economies. To the extent that international trade relies upon specialisation and that broad differences exist in the patterns of specialisation between developed and developing economies, one wonders how well findings may be generalised to a developing context. Drawing upon firm-level data from a recent survey of small enterprises in Ghana (n = 500), the current study is concerned with identifying the characteristics of exporters in the three main non-governmental sectors of the Ghanaian economy (manufacturing, services and agriculture). Our interest is in Ghanaian economic development imperatives and in the extent of congruence between the findings of this study and previous developed economy studies.