Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions
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Fields of Specialization
Private sector development, Firm dynamics, Firm Productivity, Entrepreneurship, Women's economic empowerment, Investment climate, Gender, Development Economics
Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Mary Hallward-Driemeier is Senior Economic Adviser in the Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions Vice Presidency at the World Bank, overseeing its analytical agenda on private sector development. She joined the World Bank in 1997 as a Young Professional. She has published widely on firm productivity, the economics of technological change and the impact of crises. She leads the Jobs and Economic Transformation special theme for the International Development Association (IDA). She has served as advisor to two World Bank’s Chief Economists, co-manager of the Jobs Group, and Deputy Director for the World Development Report 2005: A Better Investment Climate for Everyone. Her previous books include Trouble in the Making? The Future of Manufacturing-Led Development (with Gaurav Nayyar) and Enterprising Women: Expanding Economic Opportunities in Africa. Mary received her AB from Harvard, her MSc in Development Economics from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and her PhD in Economics from MIT.
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Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
The Impact of the Investment Climate on Employment Growth : Does Sub-Saharan Africa Mirror Other Low-Income Regions?( 2010-02-01) Aterido, Reyes ; Hallward-Driemeier, MaryUsing survey data from 86,000 enterprises in 104 countries, including 17,000 enterprises in 31 Sub-Saharan African countries, this paper finds that average enterprise-level employment growth rates are remarkably similar across regions. This is true despite significant differences in the quality of the investment climate in which these enterprises operate. Objective measures of investment climate conditions (including the number of outages, the share of firms with bank loans, and others) indicate that conditions are most challenging within Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as for smaller enterprises. However, enterprises employment in Sub-Saharan Africa is less sensitive to changes in access to infrastructure and finance relative to other low-income regions. This can be understood by looking at non-linear effects by firm size -- and the finding that these size effects are particularly strong within Sub-Saharan Africa. Although unreliable infrastructure services and inadequate access to finance generally hamper growth, in Sub-Saharan Africa they are actually associated with higher employment growth rates among micro enterprises. Although employment growth is good news in Sub-Saharan Africa, that much of the expanded employment is in small, labor-intensive, less productive enterprises raises longer-run concerns about the efficiency of the allocation of resources and aggregate productivity growth in the region.
Publication( 2010-05-01) Hallward-Driemeier, Mary ; Khun-Jush, Gita ; Pritchett, LantFirms in Africa report "regulatory and economic policy uncertainty" as a top constraint to their growth. This paper argues that often firms in Africa do not cope with policy rules, rather they face deals: firm-specific policy actions that can be influenced by firm actions (such as bribes) and characteristics (such as political connections). Using Enterprise Survey data, the paper demonstrates huge variability in reported policy actions across firms notionally facing the same policy. The within-country dispersion in firm-specific policy actions is larger than the cross-national differences in average policy. The analysis shows that variability in this policy implementation uncertainty within location-sector-size cells is correlated with firm growth rates. These measures of implementation variability are more strongly related to lower firm employment growth than are measures of "average" policy action. The paper shows that the de jure measures such as Doing Business indicators are virtually uncorrelated with ex-post firm-level responses, further evidence that deals rather than rules prevail in Africa. Strikingly, the gap between de jure and de facto conditions grows with the formal regulatory burden. The evidence also shows more burdensome processes open up more space for making deals; firms may not incur the official costs of compliance, but they still pay to avoid them. Finally, measures of institutional capacity and better governance are closely associated with perceived consistency in implementation.
Comparing Apples with....Apples : How to Make (More) Sense of Subjective Rankings of Constraints to Business( 2009-09-01) Hallward-Driemeier, Mary ; Aterido, ReyesThe use of expert or qualitative surveys to rank countries business investment conditions is widespread. However, within the economic literature there are concerns about measurement error and endogeneity based on characteristics of the respondents, raising questions about how well the data reflect the underlying reality they are trying to measure. This paper examines these concerns using data from 79,000 firms in 105 countries. The findings show that first, qualitative rankings correlate well with quantitative measures of the business environment, using both quantitative measures from within the survey and from external sources. Second, there are systematic variations in perceptions based on firm characteristics - focusing in particular on size and growth performance. However, it is not that an optimistic view of the business environment is simply the expression of a firm s own performance. Rather, firm size and performance affect the relative importance of certain constraints, particularly in areas such as finance, time with officials/inspectors, corruption, and access to reliable electricity. The results also show that much of the variation in subjective responses by firm types is largely due to differences in the objective conditions across firm types. There is little evidence that size and performance have non-linear effects in how constraining a given objective condition is reported to be. Overall, concerns about endogeneity remain in using business environment indicators to explain firm performance, but this stems primarily from the fact that who you are and how well you are doing can affect the conditions you face rather than whether the indicator used is qualitative or quantitative.
Publication( 2009-10-01) Hallward-Driemeier, MarySize, age, sector, and productivity are commonly cited as factors determining a firm s survival. However, there are several dimensions of the investment climate in which the firm operates that affect whether it continues in business or exits. This paper uses new panel data from 27 Eastern European and Central Asian countries to test the importance of five areas of the business climate on firm exit: the efficiency of government services, access to finance, the extent of corruption or cronyism, the strength of property rights, and the degree of competition. The paper finds that weaknesses in these areas do affect the probability of firm exit largely in ways that undermine the Schumpeterian cleansing role of exit in raising overall productivity. Greater costs and regulatory burdens raise the probability that more productive firms exit, while less developed financial and legal institutions mitigate forces that would otherwise push less productive firms to exit. Thus, the more productive firms stand to gain the most from improvements in the investment climate, whether that is lowering transaction costs or improving market mechanisms. This holds both within countries and across countries. The impact of a particular investment climate measure can also differ significantly by type of firm, with the focus given to firm size. The differential impact on size can be significant at a size cutoff of 10 or more employees. As these are the firms that are near the threshold of many regulatory requirements, the implications are not just with regard to whether a firm remains in operation, but whether it does so in the formal sector.
Publication( 2009-08-01) Aterido, Reyes ; Hallward-Driemeier, Mary ; Pages, CarmenUsing data on more than 56,000 enterprises in 90 countries, this paper finds that objective conditions in the business environment vary substantially across firms of different sizes and that there are important non-linearities in their impact on employment growth. The paper focuses on four areas: access to finance, business regulations, corruption, and infrastructure. The results, particularly on the impacts of finance and corruption on growth, depend on whether and how the analysis accounts for the possible endogeneity of the business environment. Controlling for endogeneity revises the finding that small firms benefit most from access to finance, particularly for sources of finance associated with investment and growth. The findings are also sensitive to how small is defined. Differentiating micro (less than 10 employees) from other small firms shows that, while small firms can be disadvantaged in such an environment, micro firms tend to be proportionally less affected by a weak business climate and, on occasion, it can help them to grow. Overall, allowing different size classifications provides insights into the impact of the business environment that are lost in more aggregate analyses.
Publication( 2009-10-01) Hallward-Driemeier, Mary ; Thompson, FraserThis paper examines the impact of firm productivity and local industrial structure on firm entry and exit in Morocco between 1985 and 2001. There is strong evidence of productivity exerting a market-cleansing role. Less productive firms are found to be more likely to exit - and locations with more productive firms attract higher rates of new firm entry. The effect of productivity operates not only in an absolute sense; a firm s relative productivity or distance to the local sector frontier matters too. First, large productivity gaps are associated with higher rates of exit, while new firms are attracted to locations with small productivity gaps. Second, local competition increases the probability of exit, although it does not encourage entry. Third, there is evidence of scale or agglomeration effects that increase firm turnover. Fourth, measures of sector diversity are not associated with lower turnover. Fifth, the geographic level at which agglomeration and competition effects are defined matters differently for exit than entry. For exit, the provincial measures are strong, while those for communes are weaker. For entry, it is the local productivity at the commune level that is more significant. This implies that competitive pressures are less geographically constrained while the potential benefits of agglomeration and spill-overs are indeed more local.
How Business Is Done and the ‘Doing Business’ Indicators : The Investment Climate When Firms Have Climate Control( 2011-02-01) Hallward-Driemeier, Mary ; Pritchett, LantThis paper examines de jure and de facto measures of regulations, finding the relationship between them is neither one for one, nor linear. "Doing Business" provides indicators of the formal time and costs associated with fully complying with regulations. Enterprise Surveys report the actual experiences of a wide range of firms. First, there are significant variations in reported times to complete the same transaction by firms facing the same formal policy. Second, regulatory compliance appears "under water" as firms report actual times much less than the Doing Business reported days. Third, the data reveal substantial differences between favored and disfavored firms in the same location. Favored firms show minimal variation, so Doing Business has little predictive power for the times they report. For disfavored firms, the variation is greater, although still not significantly correlated with Doing Business. Fourth, where multiple Enterprise Surveys are available, there is little association over time, with reductions in Doing Business days as likely to be accompanied by increases in Enterprise Surveys days. Comparing these two types of measures suggests very different ways of thinking about policy versus policy implementation, what "a climate" for firms in a country might mean, and what the options for "policy reform" really are.