The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
How do signatures required for exporting and business registration procedures affect the volume and composition of country's exports? To answer this question, I develop a model where a country can export two types of products: differentiated and homogeneous. I show that export signatures and registration procedures reduce overall exports by increasing transaction costs. The impact, however, varies across goods according to the product's degree of differentiation- the lack of price data on differentiated products due to their heterogeneity makes them more sensitive to export signatures. Regressions show that each extra signature exporters have to collect before a shipment can take place reduces aggregate exports by 4.2 percent. The impact is large, equivalent to raising importer's tariff by 5 percentage points. Furthermore, each signature lowers exports of differentiated products by 4-5 percent more than exports of homogeneous goods. I find evidence that business registration procedures affect exports of differentiated products only.