Transition to market-oriented agriculture has been characterized in all the CIS countries by a massive shift from large-scale "agricultural enterprises" to small family farms. The comparative efficiency of these two categories of farms is thus a topical issue for agriculture in transition counties. This article uses national agricultural statistics for Moldova for 1990-2006 and cross-section data from three farm surveys conducted in 2000-2003 to analyze the productivity of small individual farms and large corporate farms in Moldova. Partial land and labor productivity, total factor productivity, and technical efficiency scores are calculated for farms of different organizational forms. This evidence has a direct bearing on the issue of comparative performance of large and small farms.
With panel data for 28 Chinese provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities) during 1985-2002, this paper assesses the effect of banking structure on economic growth. Banking structure is defined as the relative importance of banks of different size in the banking sector. The market share of small banking institutions is taken as a proxy to measure the banking structure. In dealing with the potential endogeneity problem, this paper constructs an instrumental variable for banking structure with the information on the commercialization reform of state-owned banks initiated in 1994. The estimation results from a two-way fixed-effect model show that increases in the market share of small banking institutions enhance economic growth in contemporary China.
This paper estimates the impact of registering for taxes on firm profits in Bolivia, the country with the highest levels of informality in Latin America. A new survey of micro and small firms enables us to control for a rich set of measures of owner ability and business motivations that can affect both profits and the decision to formalize. We identify the impact of tax registration on business profitability using the distance of a firm from the tax office where registration occurs, conditional on the distance to the city center, as an instrument for registration. Proximity to the tax office provides firms with more information about registration, but is argued to not directly affect profits. We find tax registration leads to significantly higher profits for the firms that the instrument affects. However, we also find some evidence of heterogeneous effects of tax formality on profits. Tax registration appears to increase profits for the mid-sized firms in our sample, but to lower profits for both the marginal smaller and larger firms, in contrast to the standard view that formality increases profits. We show that owners of large firms who have managed to stay informal are of higher entrepreneurial ability than formal firm owners, in contrast to the standard view (correct among smaller firms) that informal firm owners are low ability.
There is a growing literature exploring the role of international trade channels on economic growth, looking at the mechanisms through which import and export flows might affect productivity, technology diffusion and output growth. However, most of this literature appears to neglect an important part of the story, which is the form and the organisation of the relationships (the governance) among the various actors involved in these activities and their implications for development. The recent literature on global value chains and their governance takes this element explicitly into account, and we explore it empirically with a new dataset on Thailand. To this aim, we study global and domestic value chains in Thailand, and develop a quantitative measure of their governance, which takes into account different levels and types of buyer involvement with supplier activities. We then use this measure to explore econometrically its relationship with performance of suppliers. An important finding is that in value chains led by a multinational corporation, the relationships that the leaders have with their suppliers is multifold and generally more intense than for domestic value chains. Our estimates suggest that more intense buyer involvement with local suppliers...
Manufacturing enterprises in rural and urban Ethiopia are compared to examine how location and investment climate characteristics affect performance. Urban firms are larger, more capital intensive and have higher labor productivity than rural firms, yet there is no strong evidence of increasing returns to scale. The hypothesis that firms in rural towns have the same average total factor productivity as urban firms is not rejected; however, firms in remote rural areas are less productive. Rural firms grow less quickly than urban firms. These results can partly be attributed to differences in the quality of infrastructure, access to credit and transportation costs across rural and urban areas. Since rural firms operate in a business environment that is very different from its urban counterpart, lessons derived from urban investment climate surveys cannot immediately be transferred to rural areas.
Although research shows that financial development accelerates aggregate economic growth, economists have not resolved conflicting theoretical predictions and ongoing policy disputes about the cross-firm distributional effects of financial development. Using cross-industry, cross-country data, the results are consistent with the view that financial development exerts a disproportionately positive effect on small firms. These results have implications for understanding the political economy of financial sector reform.
Using a firm-level survey database covering 48 countries, we investigate how financial and institutional development affects financing of large and small firms. Our database is not limited to large firms but includes small and medium-size firms and data on a broad spectrum of financing sources, including leasing, supplier, development, and informal finance. Small firms and firms in countries with poor institutions use less external finance, especially bank finance. Protection of property rights increases external financing of small firms significantly more than of large firms, mainly due to its effect on bank finance. Small firms do not use disproportionately more leasing or trade finance compared with larger firms, so these financing sources do not compensate for lower access to bank financing of small firms. We also find that larger firms more easily expand external financing when they are constrained than small firms. Finally, we find suggestive evidence that the pecking order holds across countries.
In this paper, we estimate the rate of return to firm investments in human capital in the form of formal job training. We use a panel of large firms with detailed information on the duration of training, the direct costs of training, and several firm characteristics. Our estimates of the return to training are substantial (8.6%) for those providing training. Results suggest that formal job training is a good investment for these firms possibly yielding comparable returns to either investments in physical capital or investments in schooling.
This study investigates the determinants of firm size. Data was collected in face-to-face structured-questionnaire interviews of 1314 firm founders from 14 counties in Argentina. Quantile regression was used as a more suitable methodology to measure the determinants of firm size. Our results show that the main sets of explanatory variables related to founder characteristics (age, experience, education, and vocation) provide a full explanation of firm size. We have also found evidence that a high degree strategic planning and a better competitive position are positively related to firm size as well. Finally, environmental factors were less representative.
Using firm-level data from Mexico, this paper investigates the firm characteristics associated with participation in credit markets, access to training, tax payments, and membership in business associations. We find that firms which participate in these institutions exhibit significantly higher profits. Moreover, firms that borrow from formal or informal sources and those that pay taxes are significantly more likely to stay in business but firms that received credit exhibit lower rates of income growth. These results persist when firm characteristics that are arguably correlated with unobserved entrepreneurial ability are controlled for. Our findings suggest that the significant within-country differences in firm productivity observed in developing economies are due in part to market and government failures that limit the ability of micro-firms to reach their optimal sizes.
This paper examines the performance of the service sector in the Eastern European transition economies during the 1997-2004 period. The performance of the service sector as a whole and of its sub-sectors is very heterogeneous within the region. Service sub-sectors that are information and communications technology producers or users and those using skilled labour more intensively exhibit the highest labour productivity growth. Our estimates show a positive and significant effect of liberalization on service labour productivity growth that is stronger for sub-sectors that are more distant from the technological frontier. Service liberalization is also shown to have a positive effect on labour productivity levels and growth of downstream manufacturing industries.
In this article, we study how firm heterogeneity influences productivity catching up using plant-level data from Mexico. The article addresses three issues: first, it evaluates the process of convergence towards the global versus the local technological frontier in a middle-income country such as Mexico. Second, it systematically evaluates the role of technological efforts in determining the speed of convergence towards each of these technological frontiers. Third, it assesses the role of openness and trade integration in determining the speed of convergence and presents a horse race between integration and technological effort in explaining the determinants of heterogeneity in influencing the process of convergence toward both the domestic and the global technological frontier. Our results suggest that building firm-level technological capabilities is important for catching up with the global frontier. A policy focused on trade alone will facilitate convergence towards the best technological practices available locally, but it will fall short of encouraging convergence with the global frontier.
The investment levels in South Africa have remained relatively low despite an overall picture of economic stability and good governance. This analysis looks at South Africa's investment climate, using data from an Investment Climate Survey (ICS) of over 800 firms conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry and the World Bank. It suggests that exchange rate instability and the cost of crime may be deterrents to investment. But more importantly, labour regulations may be discouraging firms from entering labour-intensive areas. Labour costs are also high, especially for skilled workers. Efforts to improve worker skills are crucial for raising human capital levels and reducing the cost of skilled labour.
The objective of this work is to analyse firm mobility among the different sectors of the Spanish economy according to a statistical classification of economic activities at the 1-digit level. Some of the stylised facts that we find are: an inverse relation between firm growth and age; an increase in new entrants' average relative size in terms of sales compared to established firms among the different industries and cohorts; the importance of the firm's initial size in entrepreneurial activity; the favourable impact of the economy on firm growth; and a positive relation between non-concentration in the ownership structure and greater mobility. In this context, an efficient corporate governance system may prove as a significant policy tool for the investment and growth prospective of the Spanish economy. The regulatory framework of the Spaniard capital market has been coordinate with the EU standards. The challenge is now mostly for the firms to adopt the appropriate corporate governance structures, in order to achieve real convergence, in terms of productivity and competitiveness, with other developed economies.
Using data from a large survey of firms across 26 transition economies, this article assesses the extent of trust in business relationships by measuring the level of prepayment demanded by suppliers, which we interpret as a measure of (dis)trust. We investigate a range of potential determinants of trust and find that trust among businesses is higher where confidence in third party enforcement through the legal system is higher. We also find that different types of business networks have a differential impact on the degree of trust between enterprises: networks based around family and friends help to build trust among firms, whereas networks based around enterprise insiders and government agencies appear to undermine trust. Our conclusion, based on the use of a unique multicountry enterprise data set, is that enterprises' room for maneuver in overcoming opportunism and distrust is much more limited by countrywide systemic factors than previously believed.
Around the turn of the century, China experienced perhaps the largest labour restructuring program in the world. This paper uses a new dataset of Chinese industrial enterprises to examine what leads to downsizing, and tries to understand the effects of labour downsizing on firms' technical efficiency, financial performance and employee wages. We find that downsizing is more prevalent in state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and is more likely when enterprises are older, larger and have higher excess capacity. For both SOEs and private firms, downsizing is more likely when the prices of their products drop, but private firms respond more dramatically. Moreover, downsizing has serious short-term costs in terms of total factor productivity (TFP). For mild downsizing, private firms suffer more deterioration in productivity. The distribution of surplus after downsizing is more favourable to labour in SOEs. For severe downsizing, both SOEs and private firms exhibit lower TFP growth with similar magnitudes. Our findings imply that private firms emphasize profit goals, while SOEs place a greater weight on labour protection.
Data from the World Bank Enterprise Surveys show that indirect costs (related to infrastructure and services) account for a relatively high share of firms' costs in poor African countries and pose a competitive burden on African firms. We estimate firm-level revenue and value-added functions for six industries in 17 developing countries, demonstrating that firm performance is sensitive to the cost of indirect inputs. As indirect inputs are not usually included in estimations of value added, we argue that existing estimates understate the relative performance of African manufacturing firms.
Public infrastructure is one of the important determinants of economic growth. Not only access to but also quality of infrastructure affects firm productivity as well as people's livelihood. Frequent interruptions of the infrastructure-service supply impose extra backup costs on enterprises, hinder their timely business activities, and result in large losses of sales opportunities. This paper focuses on the impacts of improving the quality of public utilities (electricity, water supply, and telecommunications), using firm-level data from 26 transition economies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The results suggest that firm costs would significantly increase when electricity outages occur frequently and the outage duration becomes longer. Similarly, when more time is required to restore suspended water supply, firms' competitiveness would be weakened. Not surprisingly, the impacts tend to vary depending on industry. The construction, manufacturing, and hotel and restaurant sectors are found particularly vulnerable.
This paper examines what makes firms grow using the investment climate survey that was conducted by the World Bank in eight developing countries. We rely on the resource-based theory of the firm that was proposed by Penrose (1959) where firm growth depends on the kinds and amount of the diverse resources a firm has. The paper extends Penrose's original idea to accommodate diverse options for firm growth and finds the following. First, in low-growth (capability) firms, growth is contributed by basic resources such as physical capital and human capital, whereas in high-growth firms, by higher-level resources such as managerial capital and research and development (R&D) capital. Second, the difference between low- versus high-growth firms has more to with the effectiveness of the relevant resources and less with the difference in the amount of resources. Third, export orientation and conglomeration are the most important strategies for firm growth, compared to networking with other local, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) or foreign firms.
This paper investigates the relationship between the productivity of African manufacturing firms and their access to services inputs. We use data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey for over 1,000 firms in ten Sub-Saharan African countries to calculate the total factor productivity of firms. The Enterprise Surveys also contain unique measures of firms' access to communications, electricity and financial services. The availability of these measures at the firm level, both as subjective and objective indicators, allows us to exploit the variation in services performance at the sub-national regional level. Furthermore, by using the regional variation in services performance, we are also able to address concerns about the possible endogeneity of the services variables. Our results show a significant and positive relationship between firm productivity and service performance in all three services sectors analysed. The paper thus provides support for the argument that improvements in services industries contribute to enhancing the performance of downstream economic activities, and thus are an essential element of a strategy for promoting growth and reducing poverty.