Abstract: We empirically assess whether ethnic migrant networks created because of past migration affect current exporting behaviour and performance of firms in the migrants origin country. We focus on ethnic networks formed because of a mass migration wave of ethnic Cantonese people from the province of Guangdong in Southern China to the United States in the late 19th century.
We measure network exposure of firms with the interaction of two measures, one which captures cultural similarity to the Chinese-American network, and the other capturing the likelihood to interact with such network.
Using firm-level data from the province of Guangdong in 2004, we show that exposure to the Chinese-American network induces firms to specialise in exporting, by increasing exports and decreasing domestic sales. Moreover, our results indicate that ethnic networks increase firms profits and affect employment and production variables.
joint work with Christina Ammon (NYU Shanghai)