Foreign trade offices (FTOs) are an important, little-understood element in the export promotion portfolio of U.S. state export promotion organizations. The value of these organizations is in dispute. In recent years California closed its FTOs in response to budgetary pressures, claiming that these organizations exist primarily to enhance the political standing of politicians rather than to act as effective export development tools. During the same period Washington State opened several new FTOs. Clearly the value of these organizations is in dispute. Another consideration in the effectiveness of U.S. exporters is the subnational contour of the American economic system. State business climates vary considerably, thereby influencing exporter success as well as those programs (such as FTOs) intended to improve firm performance. We hypothesize and find that (a) state entrepreneurial climate is positively related to state exports and (b) FTO network entry activities amplify the impact of state entrepreneurial climate on state exports. Implications for firms and policy makers are explored.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/andrew_thomas2/26/