【Food Policy】Growing exports through ISO 9001 quality certification: Firm-level evidence from Chinese agri-food sectors
Zhiqing Yang ? Peiyao Liu ? Lianfa Luo
Abstract：The adoption of ISO 9001 quality certification for agri-food products may promote China’s relatively weak competitiveness in agri-food exports compared with industrial sectors. To explore this, we construct a panel data set of Chinese listed firms in agri-food sectors from 2000 to 2016 and use staggered Difference-in-Difference (DID) method to investigate the causal relationship between the adoption of ISO 9001 quality certification and agri-food exports. Three main findings are obtained in this study. First, we find that the adoption of ISO 9001 certification is positively associated with exports for agri-food listed firms. Second, we find that ISO 9001 certification promotes firms’ exports by increasing their innovation activities. Third, the export effects are greater for food (vs. non-food) manufacturing firms and non-SOEs (vs. SOEs). Identification problems are addressed by utilizing randomly generated certification status, two-part fractional regression model, controlling and excluding other quality certifications, etc. This study provides important implications for China’s food and agricultural development strategy, which emphasises the transition from quantity expansion to quality enhancement.