This paper analyzes the differences in economic and productivity performance between exporter and non-exporter manufacturing firms in Ecuador in 2007–2016, using five macro-sectors suggested by the McKinsey Global Institute. Using longitudinal micro-data from the Ecuadorian firm’s supervisory institution, we measure the exporter premia with a multilevel approach to show firm differences in the export market. We then estimate total factor productivity (TFP) at the firm level with a semiparametric approach. Finally, this study examines productivity performance by export status to test the self-selection and learning-by-exporting hypothesis. Our results indicate not only that exporter firms have better economic and productivity performance than non-exporters but also that productivity is higher among firms that continue to export than among those that cease doing so. These results favor selection on the exit side of the market. We also find that, after entering the export market, manufacturing firms increase their productivity performance. Based on our findings, we support self-selection by firms that exit the export market.
Keywords: Emerging country, Exporter firms, Exporting activity, Productivity.