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Misallocation, Property Rights, and Access to Finance: Evidence from Within and Across Africa

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  • Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan
  • Bent E. Sorensen

Abstract

We study capital misallocation within and across 10 African countries using the World Bank Enterprise Surveys. First, we compare the extent of misallocation among firms within countries. We document high variation in firms' marginal product of capital (MPK), implying that countries could produce significantly more with the same aggregate capital stock if capital were allocated optimally. Such variation differs from country to country with some African countries (success stories) closer to developed country benchmarks. Small firms and non-exporters have less access to finance and have higher returns to capital in general. Self reported measures of obstacles to firms' operations suggest access to finance is the most important obstacle: A firm with the worst access to finance has MPK 45 percent higher than a firm with the worst access to finance as a result of low capital per worker. We compare average levels of the MPK across countries, finding evidence that the strength of property rights and the quality of the legal system help explain country-level differences in capital misallocation.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18030.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Publication status: Forthcoming: Misallocation, Property Rights, and Access to Finance: Evidence from Within and Across Africa , Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Bent E. Sørensen. in African Successes: Modernization and Development , Edwards, Johnson, and Weil. 2014
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18030

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  1. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Benjamin Moll, 2010. "Why Does Misallocation Persist?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 189-206, January.
  2. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 2005. "Financial and Legal Constraints to Growth: Does Firm Size Matter?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 137-177, 02.
  3. Angus Deaton & Alan Heston, 2009. "Understanding PPPs and PPP-based national accounts," Working Papers 1186, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  4. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J Klenow, 2008. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," 2008 Meeting Papers 121, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Laeven, Luc & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2006. "The determinants of financing obstacles," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 932-952, October.
  6. Richard Rogerson & Diego Restuccia, 2004. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," 2004 Meeting Papers 69, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Khun-Jush, Gita & Pritchett, Lant, 2010. "Deals Versus Rules: Policy Implementation Uncertainty and Why Firms Hate It," Scholarly Articles 4448884, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  8. Laura Alfaro & Andrew Charlton & Fabio Kanczuk, 2008. "Plant-Size Distribution and Cross-Country Income Differences," NBER Working Papers 14060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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).
  10. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2002. "Property Rights and Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1335-1356, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2013. "Misallocation and productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 1-10, January.
  2. Henderson, J. Vernon & Roberts, Mark & Storeygard, Adam, 2013. "Is urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa different ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6481, The World Bank.
  3. Diego Restuccia, 2013. "factor misallocation and development," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Palgrave Macmillan.

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