Innovation and export performance: evidence from UK and German manufacturing plants

Stephen Roper, James H. Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using comparable plant-level surveys we demonstrate significant differences between the determinants of export performance among the UK and German manufacturing plants. Product innovation, however measured, has a strong effect on the probability and propensity to export in both countries. Being innovative is positively related to export probability in both countries. In the UK the scale of plants’ innovation activity is also related positively to export propensity. In Germany, however, where levels of innovation intensity are higher but the proportion of sales attributable to new products is lower, there is some evidence of a negative relationship between the scale of innovation activity and export performance. Significant differences are identified between innovative and non-innovative plants, especially in their absorption of spill-over effects. Innovative UK plants are more effective in their ability to exploit spill-overs from the innovation activities of companies in the same sector. In Germany, by contrast, non-innovators are more likely to absorb regional and supply-chain spill-over effects. Co-location to other innovative firms is generally found to discourage exporting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1087-1102
Number of pages16
JournalResearch policy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2002

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Research polic. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Roper, S & Love, JH, 'Innovation and export performance: evidence from UK and German manufacturing plants' Research policy, vol. 31, no. 7 (2002) DOI 10.1016/S0048-7333(01)00175-5


  • innovation
  • exports
  • spill-over effects


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