Exports and governance: the role of private voluntary agrifood standards


The empirical evidence that institutional differences across countries affect bilateral trade is robust. The crucial question remains how countries can enhance trade amid these differences. In this article, we measure the degree to which governance and institutions differ between countries as “governance distance.” Using a sample of EU/EFTA imports, we examine how adopting private agrifood safety standards modify the effect of governance distance on exports of fruits and vegetables, in particular apples, bananas, and grapes, within a structural gravity framework. Our results show that while increasing governance distance hinders bilateral trade, the interaction of standards and the governance distance is positively associated with exports, hence partially offsetting the direct trade-inhibiting effects of the latter. GlobalGAP certified countries see the trade-inhibiting effects of governance distance on their exports reduced by about 50%, ceteris paribus.

In Agricultural Economics
Dela-Dem Doe Fiankor
Dela-Dem Doe Fiankor
Research Associate