Newsletter > Newsletter No. 01

The Economic Impact of Standards

This study looked at both the impact of standardization on the overall economy and the benefits of standardization for business. It included research on:

1. Benefits for the economy

Examined the long-term relationship between standards and economic growth from 1950 to 2007, similar to the studies conducted in Germany, UK, Australia and Canada.

2. Benefits for companies

Analysed the perception of various companies regarding the impact of standardization.

Method used was a company survey sent to 43 000 managers of businesses of all sizes, in all sectors of activity, irrespective of whether they were involved or not in the standardization process.

1 790 companies (return rate of 4%) completed the survey: 23% large companies, 48% SMEs, 30% microbusinesses.


1. Benefits for the overall economy

Part of the study was a macroeconomic analysis covering the period from 1950 to 2007, which concluded that the economic impact of standardization on TFP (Total Factor Productivity), and consequently on the total growth of the French economy was 0.81% per year on average.

During the 30-year post-war boom the contribution of standardization to overall growth in France was very high, about 1.1% per year on average. Subsequently, the period between the oil crises, showed a notable slowing of overall economic growth, and the contribution of standardization barely managed to offset downturns.

Contributions of standardization are very similar when comparing results between the German and the French studies : 0.93% for France and 0.90% for Germany (before reunification).

2. Benefits for companies

Key findings:
The study confirms that companies of all sizes understand the benefits of standardization in terms of:  product interoperability, increased productivity, market share gains, and ease of
cooperation with public R&D institutions.

  • Company value enhancement: corporate involvement in standardization work represents true value.
  • Innovation: Standardization promotes the dissemination of innovation. It emphasizes a product’s advantages and constitutes a product selection tool.
  • Transparency and ethics: Standards contribute to better compliance with the rules of competition. By establishing the rules of the game, standards make it easier to eliminate players who fail to comply.
  • International: By promoting the development of international exchanges, standardization provides companies with a genuine passport for exporting their products.
  • Product and service quality: Standardization gives companies a great degree of control.  

66% of respondents associated voluntary standards with a benefit to their organization vs. 34% that categorized them as a cost.

Companies that considered standards typically as a benefit included:

  • Large companies
  • Service sector
  • Electronic/electrical industry
  • Technical consultancy
  • R&D
  • Subsidiary of a French company
  • Innovative businesses

Companies that considered standards typically as a cost:

  • Construction sector