CEPII, Recherche et Expertise sur l'economie mondiale
Jeudi 17 octobre 2013
ELSNIT Annual Conference: Internationalization of Small and Medium Size Enterprises

ELSNIT is coordinated by a Steering Committee that currently consists of the Centre d’Etudes Prospectives et d’Informations Internationales (CEPII), Paris, France; the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), Kiel, Germany; the European University Institute (EUI), Florence, Italy; the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), Barcelona, Spain; the University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland; Paolo Baffi Centre on Central Banking and Financial Regulation-Bocconi University, Milan, Italy; the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), London, United Kingdom, and the IDB (represented by INT and INTAL).

The selected papers presented at the Conference  will address questions such as--but not limited to--the following:

  • The Importance of SMEs in Trade Flows and FDI. How important are the SMEs in countries’ exports, imports, and foreign direct investment, in terms of both the share in the number of firms involved in these activities and of their aggregate values? To what extent these figures change when intermediated trade (e.g., through wholesalers) or indirect trade (e.g., sales of inputs to large companies that end up exporting the final product) is explicitly taken into account? What is the contribution of the SMEs to export growth and diversification over time? What is their consequent impact on overall employment growth? Are their specific sectorial patterns (e.g., manufacturing vs. services) or systematic differences across hosting countries?
  • The Internationalization of SMEs and Its Driving Factors. What are the factors driving the internationalization of the SMEs? What kinds of SMEs are more likely to engage in cross-border economic activities in general and exporting in particular? What are their distinguishing factors (e.g., relative size, productivity, age, etc.)? For those SMEs already selling abroad, how does the distribution of export intensities look like? Are SMEs trading services different? How important are born-global SMEs? What are the differences between these SMEs and other SMEs? Does innovation matter for internationalization? What roles does collaboration with research centers play? Can product and process certification make a difference? What are the modes of entry into foreign markets and what is their relative importance for SMEs? To what extent does participation in global value chains account for the internationalization of the SMEs? Do SMEs need to growth or is their size a key to success? What are the main barriers faced by the SMEs in growing and internationalizing? To what extent have ICTs helped reduce information obstacles for SMEs? What is the contribution of social and business networks? What kind of influence do informality and access to financing and technology have? How does internationalization affect SMEs’ performance (e.g., productivity)? Does this effect depend on the characteristics of the SMEs or the specific international activity they carry out?
  • The Policy Perspective: Do general public policies such as those concerning physical infrastructure, tariffs, customs procedures, and environmental regulations have heterogeneous effects across firm size categories? Are the impact of public interventions such as trade, innovation, and linkages promotion different across these firms’ groups? How do the effects of public schemes supporting financial needs associated with the internationalization distribute across size segments? What is the economic rationale of public programs targeting SMEs in general and their internationalization in particular? How aware are SMEs of these programs? What is the actual rate of use? Are specific actions more cost-effective than others? Does the specific combination of policy instruments matter for their effectiveness? Do online tools help? Is it justified to have programs with an explicit regional dimension? Are there superior institutional arrangements to manage these instruments? What role do/can international organizations in general and regional development banks in particular play in supporting the internationalization of the SMEs? What are the initiatives of the private sector (e.g., by chambers of commerce and private transnational networks in general) in this area? What are their effects? How well coordinated are these actions with the respective public actions?