This paper studies the role of imported inputs in explaining firms’ export behaviour. Unlike most of the existing literature we are also able to control for the participation of domestic firms to multinational networks. This allows us to test to what extent the recurrent evidence that
importing foster exporting activity is instead a figment of the fact that importers are also part of multinational groups. Our evidence, based on Swedish manufacturing firms, suggests that imported inputs, rather than multinationality, are a key determinant of firms’ export propensity
and product scope. This result is particularly strong for SMEs, and it is driven by imported intermediates and (to a lesser extent) capital goods.
importing, exporting, multinational enterprises, Sweden