Do Standards Matter for Export Success?

In this paper the authors examine how meeting foreign standards affects firms' export performance, reflected in export propensity and market diversification. The analysis draws on the World Bank Technical Barriers to Trade Survey database of 619 firms in 17 developing countries. The results indicate that technical regulations in industrial countries adversely affect firms' propensity to export in developing countries. In particular, testing procedures and lengthy inspection procedures reduce exports by 9 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Furthermore, in the model, the difference in standards across foreign countries causes diseconomy of scale for firms and affects decisions about whether to enter export markets. The empirical analysis presented here implies that standards impede exporters' market entry, reducing the likelihood of exporting to more than three markets by 7 percent. In addition, the authors find that firms that outsource components are more challenged by compliance with multiple standards.

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Classification:Publications with Economic / Trade Focus
AuthorsJohn S. Wilson, Maggie Chen Xiaoyang, Tsune Otsuki
Other bibliographical information:World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3809.