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Islam, Asif M.

Development Economics, Enterprise Analysis Group
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Development Economics, Enterprise Analysis Group
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Last updated: January 31, 2024
Citations 65 Scopus

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
  • Publication
    Does Paternity Leave Matter for Female Employment in Developing Economies?: Evidence from Firm Data
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-03) Amin, Mohammad; Islam, Asif; Sakhonchik, Alena
    For a sample of 53 developing countries, the results show that women's employment among private firms is significantly higher in countries that mandate paternity leave versus those that do not. A conservative estimate suggests an increase of 6.8 percentage points in the proportion of women workers associated with the mandating of paternity leave.
  • Publication
    Discriminatory Environment, Firms' Discriminatory Behavior, and Women's Employment in the Democratic Republic of Congo
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-04) Muzi, Silvia; Hyland, Marie; Islam, Asif
    This paper contributes to better understanding firms' discriminatory behavior in the presence of gender-based legal discrimination and its linkages with labor market outcomes for women in a developing country setting. Using data collected through the World Bank Enterprise Surveys in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the paper documents the existence of nonnegligible employer discrimination and limitations in women's autonomy in the presence of a discriminatory environment. Interestingly, these are more pervasive outside the capital city, Kinshasa, which suggests that cultural norms or differences in regulation enforcement may be at play. The paper also finds that firms' discriminatory behavior harms women's labor market outcomes, in their representation among the upper echelons of management and participation in the overall workforce. The negative relationship between restrictions from discriminatory behaviors and female employment is particularly strong in the manufacturing sector.
  • Publication
    An Exploration of the Relationship between Police Presence, Crime, and Business in Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-02) Islam, Asif
    Economic theory predicts that a rise in police presence will reduce criminal activity. However several studies in the literature have found mixed results. This study adds to the literature by exploring the relationship between the size of the police force and crime experienced by firms. Using survey data for about 12,000 firms in a cross-section of 27 developing countries, the study finds that increasing the size of the police force is negatively associated with crime experienced by firms. The results are confirmed using a panel of firms for a subset of countries for which data are available. The study also finds that this negative relationship is stronger under certain macro-economic circumstances.
  • Publication
    Entrepreneurship and the Allocation of Government Spending Under Imperfect Markets
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-01) Islam, Asif
    Previous studies have established a negative relationship between total government spending and entrepreneurship activity. However, the relationship between the composition of government spending and entrepreneurial activity has been woefully under-researched. This paper fills this gap in the literature by empirically exploring the relationship between government spending on social and public goods and entrepreneurial activity under the assumption of credit market imperfections. By combining macroeconomic government spending data with individual-level entrepreneurship data, the analysis finds a positive relationship between increasing the share of social and public goods at the cost of private subsidies and entrepreneurship while confirming a negative relationship between total government consumption and entrepreneurial activity. The implication may be that expansion of total government spending includes huge increases in private subsidies, at the cost of social and public goods, and is detrimental for entrepreneurship.
  • Publication
    Women Managers and the Gender-Based Gap in Access to Education: Evidence from Firm-Level Data in Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-05) Amin, Mohammad; Islam, Asif
    Several studies explore the differences in men’s and women’s labor market participation rates and wages. Some of these differences have been linked to gender disparities in education attainment and access. The present paper contributes to this literature by analyzing the relationship between the proclivity of a firm to have a female top manager and access to education among women relative to men in the country. The paper combines the literature on women’s careers in management, which has mostly focused on developed countries, with the development literature that has emphasized the importance of access to education. Using firm-level data for 73 developing countries, the analysis finds strong evidence that countries with a higher proportion of female top managers also have higher enrollment rates for women relative to men in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.
  • Publication
    Gendered Laws, Informal Origins, and Subsequent Performance
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-08) Hyland, Marie; Islam, Asif
    This research explores the relationship between laws that discriminate on the basis of gender and the probability that a female-owned business begins operating in the informal sector. This is achieved by tracing the origins of formal businesses surveyed in the World Bank Enterprise Surveys and merging this with information on the level of legal equality between genders as measured by the Women, Business and the Law database. In addition, the research explores whether starting a business informally has any differential effect on subsequent firm performance depending on the gender of the owner(s). The results show that gender discriminatory laws increase the likelihood that firms with female owners will begin operations in the informal sector; as expected, this does not hold for enterprises that are solely owned by men. Furthermore, the research provides evidence that firms that began operations informally have poorer performance years later—a relationship that exists both for firms with female owners and for firms fully owned by men. The results show notable variation by region.
  • Publication
    Unequal Laws and the Disempowerment of Women in the Labor Market: Evidence from Firm-Level Data
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-09) Muzi, Silvia; Islam, Asif; Amin, Mohammad
    Institutions are defined as the set of rules that govern human interactions. When these rules are discriminatory, they may disempower segments of a population in the economic spheres of activity. This study explores whether laws that discriminate against women influence their engagement in the economy. The study adopts a holistic approach, exploring an overall measure of unequal laws also known as legal gender disparities, and relates it to several labor market outcomes for women. Using data for more than 60,000 firms across 104 economies, the study finds that unequal laws not only discourage women's participation in the private sector workforce, but also their likelihood to become top managers and owners of firms. Suggestive evidence indicates that access to finance and corruption are pathways by which legal gender disparities disempower women in the labor market.
  • Publication
    Paid Maternity Leave and Female Employment: Evidence Using Firm-Level Survey Data for Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-01) Amin, Mohammad; Islam, Asif
    The relationship between the length of paid maternity leave and the proportion of female workers in the private sector is explored using firm-level survey data for 66 mostly developing countries. The paper finds a large, positive, and statistically significant relationship between the two. According to the most conservative estimate, an increase of one week of paid maternity leave is associated with a 2.6 percentage points increase in the share of workers in a typical firm that are female. As expected, the stated relationship is much larger when the government pays for maternity leave versus the employer. The results are robust to several controls for firm and country characteristics and other possible heterogeneities in the maternity leave and female workers relationship.
  • Publication
    Mobile Money and Investment by Women Businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-07) Muzi, Silvia; Islam, Asif
    This study connects two important findings in Sub-Saharan Africa. First, digital technologies such as mobile money have become widespread and have increased investment by businesses, especially in East Africa. Second, women-owned business in the region significantly lag their male counterparts in capital investments. Using data for 16 Sub-Saharan African economies, the study connects the two findings by exploring whether mobile money use by women-owned firms increases their investment. The findings indicate that the positive relationship between mobile money use and investment is largely driven by women-owned firms and is statistically insignificant for men-owned firms. Potential channels of these effects are explored. Women-owned firms that use mobile money to transact with suppliers are more likely to invest. Mobile money also seems to facilitate greater provision of customer credit and generally greater demand for more credit by women-owned firms. Such patterns are not observed for men-owned firms.
  • Publication
    The Labor Productivity Gap between Female and Male-Managed Firms in the Formal Private Sector
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-05) Palacios-Lopez, Amparo; Islam, Asif; Amin, Mohammad; Gaddis, Isis
    This study analyzes gender differences in labor productivity in the formal private sector, using data from 128 mostly developing economies. The results reveal a sizable unconditional gap, with labor productivity being approximately 11 percent lower among female- than male-managed firms. The analyses are based on female management, which is more strongly associated with labor productivity than female participation in ownership, which has been the focus of most previous studies. Decomposition techniques reveal several factors that contribute to lower labor productivity of female-managed firms relative to male-managed firms: fewer female- than male-managed firms protect themselves from crime and power outages, have their own websites, and are (co-) owned by foreigners. In addition, in the manufacturing sector, female-managed firms are less capitalized and have lower labor cost than male-managed firms.