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 15
  • 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
    The Time Cost of Documents to Trade
    (Taylor and Francis, 2015-06-04) Amin, Mohammad; Islam, Asif
    The article shows that the number of documents required to export and import tend to increase the time cost of shipments. However, the increase in the time cost of increased documentation is much larger for countries that are relatively poor and large in size. One interpretation here is that the relatively rich countries that have more resources and the relatively small countries that rely more on trade invest more in building efficient documentation systems. Our findings suggest caution in interpreting how input-based measures, such as the number of required documents to trade, affect outcome measures.
  • Publication
    Decomposing the Labor Productivity Gap between Upper-Middle-Income and High-Income Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-12) Amin, Mohammad; Islam, Asif; Khalid, Usman
    Using firm-level survey data on registered private firms collected by the World Bank's Enterprise Surveys, this paper compares the level of labor productivity in 22 upper-middle-income countries and 11 high-income countries for which comparable data are available. The results show that labor productivity in the upper-middle-income countries is about 57.5 percent lower than in the high-income countries. The productivity difference is robust and holds for firms of different sizes and industries. The analysis uses the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition to identify the sources of the productivity gap. It finds that the endowment effect and the structural effect contribute roughly equally to the productivity gap. Several firm- and country-level variables determine the productivity gap. The biggest contributors via the endowment effect include tertiary education attainment, law and order, and quality management proxied by international quality certification. Factors that contribute most via the structural effect include market size, secondary education attainment, and law and order. Thus, the results underline the importance of human capital, institutions, and market size for closing the productivity gap between the upper-middle-income and high-income countries.
  • Publication
    The Burden of Water Shortages on Informal Firms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-05) Islam, Asif
    The informal sector in developing economies is a significant source of livelihood for a sizable portion of the population. This study uncovers the effect of poor water infrastructure on the productivity of informal firms. This is achieved using firm-level data for 12 developing economies between 2009 and 2014. The findings indicate that an increase of one standard deviation of the total duration of water shortages in a month can lead to annual average losses of about 14.5 percent of the monthly sales per worker for the average informal firm in the sample that uses water for business activities.
  • 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
    Decomposing the Labour Productivity Gap between Migrant-Owned and Native-Owned Firms in Sub-Saharan Africa
    (Taylor and Francis, 2018-09-18) Islam, Asif; Amin, Mohammad
    Migration studies have been primarily based on the movement of individuals from developing to developed economies, with a focus on the impact of migrants on host country wages. In this study we take a different angle by exploring the labor productivity of migrant-owned firms versus native-owned firms in 20 African economies using firm-level data. We find that labor productivity is 78 per cent higher in migrant-owned firms than native-owned firms. Using the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition method we find that structural effects account for 80 per cent of the labor productivity gap. Returns to manager education largely explain the productivity advantage of migrant-owned firms over native-owned firms. Interactions with the government, access to finance, informality, and power outages are also considerable contributors to the labor productivity gap.
  • Publication
    How Prevalent Are Credit-Constrained Firms in the Formal Private Sector?: Evidence Using Global Surveys
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-07-13) Islam, Asif M.
    This study develops a measure of firm-level credit constraints by leveraging refinements in survey instruments for a widely used database. Using data on more than 65,000 firms across 109 economies, the study uncovers several insights. Around 30 percent of firms in the formal private sector are credit constrained. Firms that are credit-constrained tend to be smaller and negatively correlated with performance. The more developed the economy, the lower the share of credit-constrained firms. One striking finding is that 52 percent of firms do not apply for loans as they have sufficient credit. For some economies, this may be more indicative of poor opportunities for the expansion of firms and thus the lack of demand for credit. The findings suggest that for policies that improve access to credit to be effective, they should go hand in hand with interventions that provide opportunities for firms to expand.
  • Publication
    The Resilience of SMEs and Large Firms in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Decomposition Analysis
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-09-12) Amin, Mohammad; Jolevski, Filip; Islam, Asif M.
    This study analyzes the difference in the decline in sales between small and medium-size enterprises and large firms (the “gap”) following the outbreak of COVID-19 in 19 developing countries. The decline in sales as a percentage of the pre-pandemic level was bigger for small and medium-size enterprises by 12.2 percentage points. The paper uses the Kitagawa-Oaxaca-Blinder and quantile decomposition methods to estimate individual factors’ contributions to the gap at the mean and across the sales decline distribution. Several important results emerge. First, relative to large firms, small and medium-size enterprises faced greater incidence of input supply disruptions during the pandemic, had lower initial labor productivity levels, and were concentrated in country-industry cells with a bigger sales declines. These differences in the level of factors widened the gap. Small and medium-size enterprises also suffered more than large firms from a given level of financial constraints, input supply disruptions, and country-industry-specific factors, and benefitted less from a given level of initial labor productivity. These differences in the returns to factors also widened the gap. Second, the gap was much larger at the relatively high quantiles of sales decline distribution, indicating that relative to large firms, small and medium-size enterprises were much less resilient to large shocks than small shocks. Third, individual factors’ contribution to the gap varied across the sales decline distribution. Thus, the optimal policy mix depends on the size of the shock. Fourth, there were some important differences between geographical regions in what drove the gap. Thus, an eclectic policy approach is needed that duly accounts for the prevailing local conditions.
  • Publication
    Public Procurement and the Private Business Sector: Evidence from Firm-Level Data
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-09) Ghossein, Tania; Islam, Asif Mohammed; Saliola, Federica
    The quality of the public procurement system of an economy can have far-reaching effects on the private sector. This paper empirically explores several of these effects using two rich data sets. An overall indicator of public procurement quality is created from the World Bank’s Benchmarking Public Procurement project that is then combined with firm-level data from the World Bank Enterprise Surveys. The analysis includes more than 59,000 firms spanning more than 109 economies. The paper finds that firms in economies with good public procurement systems are more likely to participate in public procurement, face lower losses from shipping to domestic markets, and experience lower incidence of bribery than economies with poor public procurement systems. Similarly, better public procurement systems are positively correlated with more engagement in innovation, research and development, international certification, foreign technology adoption, and online connectivity.
  • 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.