The usefulness of State trade missions for the internationalization of firms: an econometric analysis

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Ana Paula Africano
Aurora Teixeira
André Caiado
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Empirical studies on the usefulness of official visits (OVs) as a way to promote the internationalization of firms are scarce and it is often assumed from the political point of view that such visits have impacts that are as positive as they are immensurable. This study is centred on a relatively unexplored case (Portugal), in which OVs have become more and more visible to firms and to the public in general. By applying an econometric model, we seek to evaluate the importance regarding the structural characteristics of firms versus the characteristics of OVs, as to the way participants perceive the usefulness of official visits for promoting their firms and business in the markets visited. Based on 136 participations in 12 official visits which took place between 2005 and 2008, results indicate that the size of firms, foreign capital, export intensity, innovation intensity and experience in the market visited are statistically relevant variables in the assessment of the results and objectives of OVs