Small Business Economics

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 753–769 | Cite as

Internationalization choices and Italian firm performance during the crisis

  • Stefano Costa
  • Carmine Pappalardo
  • Claudio Vicarelli


We focus on the relationship between internationalization choices and performance of Italian firms during the first period of the financial crisis (2007–2010). Making use of a new firm-level database, we build a six-class taxonomy of firms’ internationalization activities; then we estimate firms’ performance as a function of internationalization forms, also estimating propensity score and Heckman selection models in order to control for endogeneity and sample selection bias. Over the period 2007–2010, Italian firms moved (on average) towards more complex forms of internationalization. Empirical analysis finds that these upward changes are related with positive effects on firms’ (labour) productivity, also in a period characterized by the 2009 trade collapse. These findings put additional emphasis on the issue of the diversification of both products and markets as a goal to be pursued by firms, even in times of crisis, to remain competitive and make profits.


Heterogeneous firms Internationalization Firm productivity Financial crisis Heckman model 

JEL Classifications

D22 F14 F23 L26 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISTAT, Italian National Institute of StatisticsRomeItaly
  2. 2.UPB, Parliamentary Budget OfficeRomeItaly

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