International trade in services: firm-level evidence for Portugal

  • João Amador
  • Sónia CabralEmail author
  • Birgitte Ringstad
Original Article


This paper adds to the existing firm-level evidence on international trade in non-tourism services, using a new Portuguese database merged with balance-sheet data. In accordance with the literature, we find that a small number of firms that both export and import services (two-way traders) with diversified service and geographical portfolios account for a substantial share of trade flows. Compared with one-way traders, two-way traders are larger, older, more productive, more profitable and have a higher share of foreign equity. Considering all margins of firm-level trade and controlling for firms’ characteristics, the intensive margins of exports and imports of services are positively related to both productivity and profitability. Regarding the extensive margins, the number of services imported is also positively associated with firms’ performance.


International trade Services Trade margins Firm-level data 

JEL Classification

F1 F14 L25 



We thank the editor, Daniel A. Dias, and three anonymous referees for their useful comments and suggestions. The authors are also grateful to Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos for supporting this project. In particular, Birgitte Ringstad worked in the project while visiting the Economics and Research Department of Banco de Portugal and Nova School of Business and Economics under a grant by this institution. The opinions expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily coincide with those of Banco de Portugal, the Eurosystem or Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos. Any errors and omissions are the sole responsibility of the authors.


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Copyright information

© ISEG – Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Banco de PortugalLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Nova School of Business and EconomicsCarcavelosPortugal

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