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Export behavior and corporate governance

Oliver Lukason (School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia)
Tiia Vissak (School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia)

Review of International Business and Strategy

ISSN: 2059-6014

Article publication date: 15 January 2020

Issue publication date: 23 March 2020




This paper aims to study how firms’ export behavior is associated with their corporate governance.


This study uses whole population data of Estonian small and medium-sized enterprises: 9,530 exporters and 73,619 non-exporters. Several theory-driven corporate governance variables and exporting variables (based on previous studies) are used. Binary logistic regression is applied to study how exporters’ corporate governance differs from that of non-exporters. Eight additional continuous dependent variables are used to portray exporters’ internationalization with ordinary least squares regression. The robustness of the obtained base results is checked for younger/older and smaller/larger firms.


Having female board members did not lead to a higher likelihood of export activities. Experience – tenure’s length, board members’ age and other board memberships – provided mixed results. Having a larger board was associated with a higher export propensity and larger exports but a lower export share. A larger share of a chief executive officer’s shareholding was associated with lower export propensity, exporting less overall and activities on a smaller number of markets. The presence of a majority owner was associated with larger export share and export turnover, but more focus on the main export market. Firm age and size affected the results.


Previous studies about the interconnection of corporate governance and exporting have relied on varied theoretical explanations and limited sets of variables. This paper provides an extensive insight by using corporate governance variables emergent from various theoretical explanations accompanied by a large set of dependent exporting variables. The latter enables obtaining a more holistic view of the interconnection between the two phenomena.



This work was supported by the Institutional Research Funding IUT20-49 of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and by the Estonian Research Council’s grant PUT 1003. Oliver Lukason provided his contribution to the paper during his research visit to Madrid Complutense University funded by University of Tartu Foundation’s Ernst Jaakson Commemorative Scholarship.


Lukason, O. and Vissak, T. (2020), "Export behavior and corporate governance", Review of International Business and Strategy, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 43-76.



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