The construction of a unified national market is the necessary way for the high-quality development of China’s economy in the new era, and the basic measurement to promote the implementation of this strategy is to break down market access control barriers. Using the quasi-natural experiment of the pilot of “negative list system for market access”, this paper investigates the impact and mechanism of the deregulation of market access on corporate innovation.
The study finds that the “negative list system for market access” significantly promotes corporate innovation, and this effect is achieved through the product competition mechanism of “breaking local administrative monopoly barriers and strengthening market competition incentives” and the factor allocation mechanism of “reducing government intervention in factor allocation and easing the degree of factor market mismatch”. Further analysis shows that the “negative list system for market access” has triggered a positive adjustment of corporate innovation strategies, which is specifically manifested in the tendency of enterprises to increase innovation input, improve innovation efficiency, and pursue high-quality innovation; and strong innovation capabilities can help firms achieve good performance in the face of intensifying competition. The heterogeneity analysis shows that the innovation incentive effect of “negative list system for market access” mainly exists in regions with strong intellectual property protection, technology-intensive enterprises, and enterprises with low operating efficiency.
The contributions of this paper are as follow: First, it enriches the literature on the economic consequences of “negative list system for market access”. Second, it systematically clarifies the mechanism of the deregulation of market access on corporate innovation. Third, it provides new insights into the literature on the antecedents of market system for corporate innovation. In addition, it provides a useful theoretical basis and policy reference for the coordinated promotion of market economy system reform and innovation-driven development strategy.