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Regulatory costs and performance of Portuguese firms

Birgitte Ringstad
Publication Year 
This article studies the relations between firms’ evaluation of nine domains of regulatory costs and two performance variables: labour productivity and export intensity. We use a representative micro-level database from a survey on Portuguese firms’ perceptions of the regulatory framework in 2014 (Business Costs of Context Survey, IaCC) merged with balance sheet data. Although no causality is established, we find several statistically significant relations between firms’ performance and their assessments of regulatory costs. For productivity, only obstacles related to “human resources” are identified as having a significant negative relation both in terms of the importance to firms’ activity and the level of the barrier, while for export intensity the same result is observed for obstacles related with the “judicial system”. The article examines in more detail the domain “barriers to internationalisation” showing that to consider these costs as important tends to be associated with lower productivity and higher export intensity.
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