This paper investigates the impacts of informational and motivational seminars on export promotion targeting small and medium enterprises in the traditional apparel and textile clusters in Vietnam. To control for biases due to self-selection, we conducted a randomised controlled trial and invited randomly selected firms to participate in 1-day seminars. Because only some of the invited firms participated in the seminars, we employ an instrumental variable approach in which the dummy variable for a random invitation is used as an instrument for quantifying the effects of participation. We find that seminar participants were more likely to sense the difficulties of the export procedures and were, on average, unlikely to start exporting in the short run. However, the seminars encouraged large firms, which possibly embody higher productivity and absorptive capacity, to start exporting shortly after the seminars. This effect was not sustained in the long term without additional stimuli. We have also identified spillover effects of participants on non-participants through informal information networks within the cluster. Overall, the results suggest that the provision of information about export is useful only to adequately productive larger firms with a sufficient absorptive capacity.
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