In recent years, with the slow recovery of the global economy, the shrinking of external demands and the rising cost of labor, it is difficult for the comparative advantages of cheap labor to continue to exert the driving force of exports on economic growth. Under this background, it is an important breakthrough for China to build a new type of comparative advantage in exports through institutional reforms, innovations, and excavation of comparative advantages. Among them, the administrative examination and approval center, as a derivative system innovation in the reform of the administrative examination and approval system, is of great significance in reducing the institutional transaction costs and enterprises’ burdens, and helping enterprises develop international markets. The study of this issue will not only help clarify the intrinsic mechanism of this institutional innovation on export trade and dig deeply into the institution comparative advantages, but also has profound policy guidance implications to further deepen the reform of the administrative examination and approval system, and enhance the efficiency of administrative approval and release the vitality of the institution. Based on the perspective of tapping new institutional comparative advantages, this paper firstly examines the effect of administrative approval efficiency on export performance. Specifically, using statistic data of China annual survey of industrial firms over the 1998 to 2006 period, this paper empirically studies the impacts of administrative approval efficiency on exports from the evidence of establishing Administrative Approval Center’s Quasi-Natural Experiment under the assumption that the sample meets the trend consistency and randomness. The difference-in-differences estimations show that, first, Administrative Approval Center can promote cities’ export performance significantly, yet with a certain amount of time lag. Second, there are huge differences between industries on the effect of policies. Industries with high non-state-owned capital intensity and high contract intensity benefit more from policies. Third, from micro-aspects of enterprises, such positive effect on export values is mainly from the raising of extensive margin, especially in domestic-funded, small and incumbent firms. Finally, we analyze the mechanism of how Administrative Approval Center influences export behaviors, and find that it reduces institutional transaction costs and improves firms’ tendency of entering markets and productivity. Based on the above findings, this article believes that we must continue to deepen the reform of the administrative examination and approval system, improve the function of the administrative examination and approval center, and further release the institutional dynamism to stimulate the growth of export trade. To this end, the various examination and approval departments must not only clarify their own responsibilities, but also strengthen communication and collaboration among departments, especially play the role of the E-government system.
The Efficiency of Administrative Approval and Export Performance: Based on the Quasi-Natural Experiment of Administrative Approval Center
Journal of Finance and Economics Vol. 44, Issue 10, pp. 98 - 110 (2018) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.jfe.2018.10.007
 Bi Q M, Chen X L, Xu X X, et al. Administrative approval reform and firm entry [J]. Economic Research Journal, 2018,（2）：140-155. (In Chinese)
 Chen L, Zhu W P. Innovation, market structure and administrative entry barriers [J].China Economic Quarterly, 2011,（2）：653-674. (In Chinese)
 Chen S X. Analysis of the mechanism of administrative service center to administrative examination and approval system reform [J]. Chinese Public Administration, 2006,（4）：36-39. (In Chinese)
 Fan G, Zhang X L, Zhu H P. NERI index of marketization of China’s province 2011 report [M]. Beijing: Economic Science Press, 2011. (In Chinese)
 Fan S Y, Yang Y H, Liu X M. Reform of administrative approval system, nature of business ownership and corporate investment efficiency [J]. Journal of Beijing Technology and Business University(Social Sciences) , 2015,（3）：48-57. (In Chinese)
 Li S X. Ownership, agency cost and agency efficiency [J]. Economic Research Journal, 2007，（1）：102-113. (In Chinese)
 Qiu B, Tang B Q, Sun S Q, et al. Factor endowment, institutional dividend and new comparative advantage of exports [J]. Economic Research Journal, 2014,（8）：107-119. (In Chinese)
 Sheng D, Wang Y J. Marketization, technical complexity and industrial growth in China's provinces [J].The Journal of World Economy, 2011,（6）：26-47. (In Chinese)
 Wang K W. The reform of China's administrative examination and approval system and regulation by law [J]. Chinese Journal of Law, 2014,（2）：3-19. (In Chinese)
 Xia J C, Liu C. Administrative examination and approval reform, transaction costs and China's economic growth [J]. Management World, 2017,（4）：47-59. (In Chinese)
 Yu C L. Intellectual property protection and export comparative advantage of China [J]. Management World, 2016,（6）：51-66. (In Chinese)
 Zhang L P, Jiang W, Zhou L Q. Study of effect of administrative examination and approval on entrepreneurship——Perspective of entrepreneurial ability [J]. China Industrial Economics, 2016,（4）：57-74. (In Chinese)
 Zheng X Y, Wang H, Zhao Y Z. Can province-managing-county reform promote economic growth?——Difference-in-difference method [J]. Management World, 2011,（8）：34-44, 65. (In Chinese)
 Zhu X F, Zhang Y L. Innovation and diffusion: the rise of new administrative approval system in China [J]. Management World, 2015,（10）：91-105. (In Chinese)
 Acemoglu D, Antràs P, Helpman E. Contracts and technology adoption[J]. American Economic Review, 2007, 97(3): 916–943.
  Aghion P, Bloom N, Blundell R, et al. Competition and innovation: an inverted-U Relationship[J]. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2005, 120(2): 701–728.
  Brandt L, van Biesebroeck J, Zhang Y F. Creative accounting or creative destruction? Firm-level productivity growth in Chinese manufacturing[J]. Journal of Development Economics, 2012, 97(2): 339–351.
  Cai X Q, Lu Y Q, Wu M H. Does environmental regulation drive away inbound foreign direct investment? Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment in China[J]. Journal of Development Economics, 2016, 123: 73–85.
  Hart O, Moore J. Contracts as reference points[J]. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2008, 123(1): 1–48.
  Levchenko A A. Institutional quality and international trade[J]. The Review of Economic Studies, 2007, 74(3): 791–819.
  Li P, Lu Y, Wang J. Does flattening government improve economic performance? Evidence from China[J]. Journal of Development Economics, 2016, 123: 18–37.
  Nunn N. Relationship-specificity, incomplete contracts, and the pattern of trade[J]. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2007, 122(2): 569–600.
  Nunn N, Trefler D. Domestic institutions as a source of comparative advantage[J]. Handbook of International Economics, 2014, 4: 263–315.
Cite this article
Feng Xiao, Wang Yongjin, Liu Canlei. The Efficiency of Administrative Approval and Export Performance: Based on the Quasi-Natural Experiment of Administrative Approval Center[J]. Journal of Finance and Economics, 2018, 44(10): 98-110.
Previous: The Only-Child’s Portfolio Allocation in China: Expectations and an Empirical Investigation Based on Trust and Risk Attitudes