Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: Firm ownership, Business Environment, Competition, Productivity of Firm, Firm size
This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University
Oil is an important part of the Saudi economy. With the volatility of oil prices and the pressing needs of economic growth and development, the Saudi Arabian government has planned to diversify its sources of income. To this end, the majority of effort has focused on developing the non-oil export sectors, particularly in
manufacturing. Despite government efforts to enhance the ratio of non-oil export to total exports, it remains weak, amounting to 15 per cent of total exports in 2010 (which compares unfavourably with the average for other Middle East and North Africa countries (MENA) which stood between 30-46 per cent in 2010). This
research aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of non-oil exports and their financing in Saudi Arabia. This study uses unique, primary data, collected through a custom designed questionnaire and a unique sample of Saudi exports. There is currently no comparable database for Saudi firms, or for other MENA countries trying to engage in export diversification strategies. This dissertation comprises three main empirical parts which are; ownership structure and operations, finance, and business climate, respectively (chapters 3, 4
and 5). In the first, the econometric analysis shows multiple factors have a significant positive impact on export intensity, including: whether the firm is shareholding, the age of the firm, internationally and locally recognised quality certificate, length of export experience, supplies of domestic origin, independent retail stores, TV or radio advertising, a foreign language website and finally an export marketing plan. Regarding the impact of financial factors on exports at firm level, the econometric analysis showed that younger firms are more likely to be credit-constrained than older firms. Finally, this dissertation provides evidence of the relationship between the business environment, competition and firm’s exports. The main findings show that firm performance, measured as intensity of exports, is boosted by an increase in experience of export and hindered by a high
level of labour, competition, custom and trade regulation, and the informal sector.
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