Published Papers

Using Export Market Performance to Evaluate Regional Preferential Policies in China

(as Annette Schminke, with Jo Van Biesebroeck), Review of World Economics, 149(2), 343-367

We evaluate the effectiveness of two types of preferential regional policy programs in China's manufacturing sector. The primary goal of the Economic and Technological Development Zones (ETDZs) is to facilitate internationalization strategies, while Science and Technology Industrial Parks (STIPs) aim to generate technology spillovers. Various dimensions of export market performance are used as objective indicators for the upgrading of product quality and firm operations. We compare startups that locate into one of these zones with startups on the outside, while controlling for self-selection using treatment evaluation methods. The results indicate that firms locating in an ETDZ achieve much higher export values, driven by higher volumes of trade and numbers of destinations. Firms locating in a STIP perform best on quality dimensions. In particular they fetch higher export prices and have more success exporting to high-income countries.

The Impact of Export Promotion on Export Market Entry

(with Jo Van Biesebroeck), Journal of International Economics, 107. 19–33

For small open economies, it is essential that many firms find their way to the export market and most governments provide some form of export promotion assistance. We use detailed firm-level data for Flanders, the largest region in Belgium, to evaluate whether its program raises firms' propensity to start exporting outside the EU single market. We find robust evidence for such an effect by relying on the selection-on-observables assumption which we implement using various estimators. We address a likely upward bias due to self-selection into support using two strategies: (i) focus on sub-samples of firms where endogenous selection into treatment is less likely, and (ii) use firms that receive the weakest form of support as controls for firms receiving more extensive support. The effects remain positive and statistically significant, but are smaller in magnitude and in the second case estimated much less precisely.

JRC Digital Economy Working Paper Series

Geo-blocking: A literature review and new evidence in online audio-visual services

(with Nestor Duch-Brown, Estrella Gomez-Herrera, & Bertin Martens), JRC Digital Economy Working paper 2020-1

This paper is composed of two different parts. In the first part we provide a review of the existing literature dealing with geo-blocking in copyright-protected content. The material is divided between studies that focus on non-audio-visual content and those dealing wit h audiovisual content. In the second part, we offer recent evidence of cross-border availability of audiovisual content in VoD platforms in the EU.

Gravity and trade in video on demand services

(with Zuzanna Studnicka), JRC Digital Economy Working paper 2021-12

Over the last decade, watching videos online has become one of the primary uses of the internet, with streaming services accounting for more than 60% of global internet traffic. In this paper we use a novel data set on Netflix, the largest streaming platform worldwide, to estimate the patterns of catalogue availability (extensive margin) and number of clicks per title (intensive margin) across twenty countries. This data set also gives us a unique opportunity to estimate the importance of quality in viewing patterns. Our results show evidence of the gravity framework explaining both margins of Netflix watching. In addition, we find that there is a strong preference for domestic content, better rated titles, and Netflix Original productions. These findings suggest that as Netflix produces more content, this will interact with its streaming dominance to provide a significant advantage in reaching viewers and promoting specific content.

Work in progress

Assessing the impact of online travel agencies on hotels and travellers

(with Nestor Duch-Brown)

This study evaluates the impact of distribution channel availability on demand patterns for hotel rooms and welfare. We estimate a nested logit demand model for hotel room nights which includes three different quality segments as nests. Our counterfactual analysis shows that the removal of online travel agencies would lead to a decrease in overall producer profits accompanied by decreases in consumer surplus and occupancy. These decreases are most pronounced in the midscale and upscale segments, and least in the luxury segment. Only a few well-positioned hotels would benefit of the removal, as overall producer surplus would decrease by 9%.

There's no business like Show Business: Evaluating the impact of lifting geo-blocking restrictions on the audiovisual sector

(with Nestor Duch-Brown and Bertin Martens)

Increased penetration of high-speed internet and rising numbers of internet users enable an ever-growing number of consumers to enjoy watching TV shows, films, and documentaries online. At the same time, cross-border access to audiovisual content is often blocked due to licensing deals between rights holders and streaming platforms. The aim of the study is to quantify the extent to which welfare of consumers would change if geo-blocking restrictions were lifted within the EU, so that a title that is available in any EU country would be available for every EU consumer. We use a novel dataset of actual streaming patterns from SVoD service Netflix to estimate demand with a nested logit model. In a counterfactual analysis, we find that consumer surplus per capita EU-wide would increase by 0.13% if geo-blocking restrictions were lifted within the EU. Consumer surplus per capita in the EU would on average increase even more, i.e. 0.31%, if frictionless streaming was possible between all countries in our sample.