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 - 10 of 12
Publication(World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-06) Dollar, David ; Hallward-Driemeier, Mary ; Mengistae, TayeDrawing on recently completed firm-level surveys in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Honduras, India, Nicaragua, Pakistan, and Peru, this paper investigates the relationship between investment climate and international integration. These standardized surveys of large, random samples of firms in common sectors reveal how firms experience bottlenecks and delays in hard infrastructure such as power and telecom as well as in soft infrastructure such as customs administration. The authors focus primarily on measures of the time or monetary cost of different bottlenecks (e.g., days to clear goods through customs, days to get a telephone line, sales lost to power outages). For many of these costs, the obstacles are lower in China than in the South Asian or Latin American countries. There is also systematic variation across cities within countries. The authors estimate a probit function for the probability that a randomly chosen firm is foreign-invested and a separate probit for the probability that a randomly chosen firm is an exporter. These measures of international integration are higher where investment climate is better. For locations to take advantage of opportunities in the international market, they need good infrastructure and a sound regulatory environment. The interaction of openness and sound investment climate creates a good environment for investment and production. This paper helps explain why China has been so successful over the past decade, both in terms of integration and of rapid growth, while other countries have had varied success.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2003-03) Hallward-Driemeier, Mary ; Wallsten, Scott ; Xu, Lixin ColinThe importance of a country's "investment climate" for economic growth has recently received much attention. The authors address the general lack of appropriate data for measuring the investment climate and its effects. The authors use a new survey of 1,500 Chinese enterprises in five cities to more precisely define and measure components of the investment climate, highlight the importance of firm-level data for rigorous analysis of the investment climate, and investigate empirically the effects of this comprehensive set of measures on firm performance in China. Overall, their firm-level analysis reveals that the main determinants of firm performance in China are international integration, entry and exit, labor market issues, technology use, and access to external finance.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-06) Freund, Caroline ; Hallward-Driemeier, Mary ; Rijkers, BobThis paper examines whether demands for bribes for particular government services are associated with expedited or delayed policy implementation. The "grease the wheels" hypothesis, which contends that bribes act as speed money, implies three testable predictions. First, on average, bribe requests should be negatively correlated with wait times. Second, this relationship should vary across firms, with those with the highest opportunity cost of waiting being more likely to pay and face shorter delays. Third, the role of grease should vary across countries, with benefits larger where regulatory burdens are greatest. The data are inconsistent with all three predictions. According to the preferred specifications, ceteris paribus, firms confronted with demands for bribes take approximately 1.5 times longer to get a construction permit, operating license, or electrical connection than firms that did not have to pay bribes and, respectively, 1.2 and 1.4 times longer to clear customs when exporting and importing. The results are robust to controlling for firm fixed effects and at odds with the notion that corruption enhances efficiency.
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.
Publication( 2011-11-01) Hallward-Driemeier, Mary ; Rijkers, BobUsing Indonesian manufacturing census data (1991-2001), this paper rejects the hypothesis that the East Asian crisis unequivocally improved the reallocative process. The correlation between productivity and employment growth did not strengthen and the crisis induced the exit of relatively productive firms. The attenuation of the relationship between productivity and survival was stronger in provinces with comparatively lower reductions in minimum wages, but not due to reduced entry, changing loan conditions, or firms connected to the Suharto regime suffering disproportionately. On the bright side, firms that entered during the crisis were relatively more productive, which helped mitigate the reduction in aggregate productivity.
Publication( 2011-09-01) Hallward-Driemeier, Mary ; Rijkers, Bob ; Waxman, AndrewIn a crisis, do employers place the burden of adjustment disproportionately on female employees? Relying on household and labor force data, existing studies of the distributional impact of crises have not been able to address this question. This paper uses Indonesia's census of manufacturing firms to analyze employer responses and to identify mechanisms by which gender differences in impact may arise, notably differential treatment of men and women within firms as well as gender sorting across firms that varied in their exposure to the crisis. On average, women experienced higher job losses than their male colleagues within the same firm. However, the aggregate adverse effect of such differential treatment was more than offset by women being disproportionately employed in firms hit relatively less hard by the crisis. The 0 hypothesis that there were no gender differences in wage adjustment is not rejected. Analyzing how employer characteristics impact labor market adjustment patterns contributes to the understanding of who is vulnerable in volatile times.
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.