Working Paper

International Managerial Skill and Big Colombian Exporting Firms’ Performance, 2006-2014

Kiel Working Papers, 2226

This paper uses a sample of the biggest private Colombian exporting firms to propose and estimate a two-step methodology for measuring international managerial skill and calculating its impact on firm performance. The first step quantifies the manager’s organizational capital contribution to improvements in Bloom et al.’s (2021) production efficiency (ability to assemble inputs into final goods) and/or quality capacity (skill to make high quality goods) mechanisms, through the median of export unit value regression residuals at firm-year level (multiplying by -1 the price competition products’ residuals). The second step is regression analysis of firm performance. Results indicate that: i) international managerial quality has a significant and robust positive effect on total export value via the intensive margin, ii) exported value elasticity relative to international managerial quality is around 3 times larger than exported value elasticity relative to exogenous global demand shocks, and iii) better managers in the international market do not necessarily upgrade export quality.