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This paper examines whether the export decision of firms is affected by their ownership structure, specifically it looks at whether family control is an obstacle to entering foreign markets. The underlying assumption is that family firms are risk averse. Risk aversion may be an obstacle to entering foreign markets, as far as these are perceived as more volatile and risky than the domestic one, particularly when such choice entices bearing relatively high sunk costs. The authors develop an illustrative theoretical model that shows how the combination between high risk aversion and low initial productivity may hinder family firms' decision to enter foreign markets, particularly distant ones.
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