Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Stunted Growth: Why Don't African Firms Create More Jobs?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Leonardo Iacovone, Vijaya Ramachandran, and Martin Schmidt

    ()

Abstract

Many countries in Africa suffer high rates of underemployment or low rates of productive employment; many also anticipate large numbers of people to enter the workforce in the near future. This paper asks the question: Are African firms creating fewer jobs than those located in other parts of the world? And, if so, why? One reason may be that weak business environments slow the growth of firms and distort the allocation of resources away from better-performing firms, hence reducing their potential for job creation. The paper uses data from 41,000 firms across 119 countries to examine the drivers of job creation. We find that African firms, at any age, tend to be 20–24 percent smaller than comparable firms in other regions of the world. The poor business environment, driven by limited access to finance, and the lack of availability of electricity, land, and unskilled labor has some value in explaining this difference. Foreign ownership, the export status of the firm, and the size of the market are also significant determinants of employment levels. However, even after controlling for the business environment and for characteristics of firms and markets, about 60 percent of the size gap between African and non-African firms remains unexplained. Constraints imposed by the business environment and by market characteristics that limit the growth of African firms can be alleviated by policy reforms. But there appear to be constraints that are not captured by these measures--these require further research in order to design appropriate policies for job creation.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/stunted-growth-why-dont-african-firms-create-jobs_0.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 353.

as in new window
Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:353

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.cgdev.org

Related research

Keywords: Africa; underemployment; finance; economic growth;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0716, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Pakes, A. & Ericson, R., 1990. "Empirical Implications Of Alternative Models Of Firm Dynamics," Papers 594, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  3. Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Khun-Jush, Gita & Pritchett, Lant, 2010. "Deals versus Rules: Policy Implementation Uncertainty and Why Firms Hate It," Working Paper Series rwp10-027, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Bronwyn H. Hall, 1986. "The Relationship Between Firm Size and Firm Growth in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector," NBER Working Papers 1965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. John Sutton, 1997. "Gibrat's Legacy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 40-59, March.
  6. Justin Sandefur, 2010. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution in an African Economy," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2010-05, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. Bartelsman, Eric & Haltiwanger, John C. & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2009. "Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 4578, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Bloom, Nicholas & Sadun, Raffaella & Van Reenen, John, 2009. "The Organization of Firms Across Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 7338, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. McPherson, Michael A., 1996. "Growth of micro and small enterprises in southern Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 253-277, March.
  10. Evans, David S, 1987. "Tests of Alternative Theories of Firm Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 657-74, August.
  11. Francis Teal, 1999. "The Ghanaian manufacturing sector 1991-95: Firm growth, productivity and convergence," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 109-127.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Gelb, Alan & Meyer, Christian J. & Ramachandran, Vijaya, 2014. "Development as diffusion: Manufacturing productivity and sub-Saharan Africa.s missing middle," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:353. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Roodman) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask David Roodman to update the entry or send us the correct address.

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.