Cirera, Xavier

Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice
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Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice
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Last updated August 7, 2023
Xavier Cirera is a senior economist in the Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation (FCI) Global Practice of the World Bank. His work focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship. He has led the evaluation of innovation policies, including through the development of public expenditure reviews in science, technology, and innovation implemented in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ukraine, and Vietnam. He is the coauthor of The Innovation Paradox: Developing-Country Capabilities and the Unrealized Promise of Technological Catch-Up and A Practitioner’s Guide to Innovation Policy: Instruments to Build Firm Capabilities and Accelerate Technological Catch-Up in Developing Countries. His most recent work focuses on the measurement and impact of technology adoption and diffusion. Before joining the World Bank, he served as a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. He holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Sussex.
Citations 48 Scopus

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
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    The Export-Productivity Link in Brazilian Manufacturing Firms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-07) Cirera, X. ; Lederman, D. ; Máñez, J.A. ; Rochina, M.E. ; Sanchis, J.A.
    This paper explores the link between exports and total factor productivity in Brazilian manufacturing firms over the period 2000–08. The Brazilian experience is instructive, as it is a case of an economy that expanded aggregate exports significantly, but with stagnant aggregate growth in total factor productivity. The paper first estimates firm-level total factor productivity under alternative assumptions (exogenous and endogenous law of motion for productivity) following a GMM procedure. In turn, the analysis uses stochastic dominance techniques to assess whether the ex ante most productive firms are those that start exporting (self-selection hypothesis). Finally, the paper tests whether exporting boosts firms’ total factor productivity growth (learning-by-exporting hypothesis) using matching techniques to control for the possibility that selection into exports may not be a random process. The results confirm the self-selection hypothesis and show that starting to export yields additional growth in total factor productivity that emerges since the firm’s first year of exporting but lasts only one year. Further, this extra total factor productivity growth is much higher under the assumption of an endogenous law of motion for productivity, which reinforces the importance of accounting for firm export status to study the evolution of productivity.
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    Technology Within and Across Firms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-11) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego ; Cruz, Marcio ; Lee, Kyung Min
    This study collects data on the sophistication of technologies used at the business function level for a representative sample of firms in Vietnam, Senegal, and the Brazilian state of Ceara. The analysis finds a large variance in technology sophistication across the business functions of a firm. The within-firm variance in technology sophistication is greater than the variance in sophistication across firms, which in turn is greater than the variance in sophistication across regions or countries. The paper documents a stable cross-firm relationship between technology at the business function and firm levels, which it calls the technology curve. Significant heterogeneity is uncovered in the slopes of the technology curves across business functions, a finding that is consistent with non-homotheticities in firm-level technology aggregators. Firm productivity is positively associated with the within-firm variance and the average level of technology sophistication. Development accounting exercises show that cross-firm variation in technology accounts for one-third of cross-firm differences in productivity and one-fifth of the agricultural versus non-agricultural gap in cross-country differences in firm productivity.
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    Do Innovative Firms Pay Higher Wages? Micro-Level Evidence from Brazil
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-10) Cirera, Xavier ; Soares Martins-Neto, Antonio
    Several studies have documented a positive and causal relationship product or process innovation -- and labor productivity. Given the links between labor productivity and wages, a likely implication of this positive relationship is that innovation is associated with higher wages of more productive firms. This paper explores the relationship between innovation and wages using Brazil's employer-employee census and a novel measure of innovation derived from the share of technical and scientific occupations of workers in the firm. The results show a robust and positive wage premium associated with innovative firms. The decomposition of this innovation-related wage premium suggests a series of important stylized facts: (i) the innovation wage premium is larger for manufacturing but also positive and significant for agriculture and services; (ii) it is larger for large firms, but also positive and significant for all firm size categories including micro firms; and (iii) it is larger for medium- and low-skill occupations, although this depends on the use of firm fixed effects. More importantly, the paper explores the causality between innovation and wages and finds empirical support for the ideas that “self-selection”—firms that innovate already pay higher wages before becoming innovators -- and increases in wages associated with starting innovation activity, which are persistent for three years after firms start innovating.
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    Exporting and Technology Adoption in Brazil
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-06-15) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego ; Cruz, Marcio ; Lee, Kyung Min ; Martins-Neto, Antonio
    There is limited evidence on the role of participating in international trade in the diffusion of technologies. This paper analyzes the impact of exporting on firms’ adoption of more sophisticated technologies, using a novel dataset, the Firm-level Adoption of Technology survey, which includes more than 1,500 firms in Brazil. The survey provides detailed information on the use of more than 300 technologies, combined with data from Brazil’s census of formal workers and export data from the Ministry of Trade. To address critical endogeneity concerns, the analysis applies difference-in-differences with multiple periods to examine the effects of entering export markets on technology adoption. The findings show that exporting has a positive effect on firms’ likelihood of adopting advanced technologies in business functions related to business administration, production planning, supply chain management, and quality control, which are important for managing tasks associated with export activities.
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    Firm-Level Technology Adoption in the State of Ceara in Brazil
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-03) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego ; Cruz, Marcio ; Lee, Kyung Min ; Soares Martins-Neto, Antonio
    This paper uses a novel approach to measure technology adoption at the firm level and applies it to a representative sample of firms in the state of Ceará in Brazil. The paper develops a new measure of technology adoption at the firm level, which identifies the purpose for which technologies are used and the intensive and extensive uses. The survey allows for establishing several new stylized facts for Ceará. First, most firms still rely on pre-digital technologies to perform general business functions, such as business administration, marketing, sales and payments, or quality control. Second, these technology gaps are larger in smaller firms, in the manufacturing sector, with large gaps when it comes to Industry 3.0 and digitalization, and especially large in Industry 4.0 technologies. The paper also presents some evidence that the main challenge to accelerate technology adoption is lack of firm capabilities. Despite the availability of technology extension services in the state, firms are still unaware of the availability of support and unwilling to upgrade technologies.