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Barriers to entry and returns to capital in informal activities : evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Grimm, Michael
  • Kruger, Jens
  • Lay, Jann

Abstract

This paper investigates the patterns of capital entry barriers and capital returns in informal Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE's) using a unique micro data set seven West-African countries. The author's findings support the view of a heterogeneous informal sector that is not primarily host to subsistence activities. While an assessment of initial investment identifies some informal activities with negligible entry barriers, a notable cost of entry is associated to most activities. The authors find very heterogeneous patterns of capital returns in informal MSE's. At very low levels of capital, marginal returns are extremely high- often exceeding 70 percent per month. Above a capital stock of 150 international dollars, marginal returns are found to be relatively low at around 4 to 7 percent monthly. The authors provide some evidence that the high returns at low capital stocks reflect high risks. At the same time, most MSE's appear to be severely capital constrained.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 77927.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:77927

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Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; Debt Markets; Investment and Investment Climate; Economic Growth; Banking Law;

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References

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  1. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2934, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Christopher Udry & Santosh Anagol, 2006. "The Return to Capital in Ghana," Working Papers 932, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  4. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willem Gunning & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Cathy Patillo & M�ns S–derbom & Francis Teal & Albert Zeuf, 2003. "Credit Constraints in Manufacturing Enterprises in Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(1), pages 104-125, March.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 151-72, April.
  6. Dan Bernhardt & Huw Lloyd-Ellis, 1993. "Enterprise, Inequality and Economic Development," Working Papers 893, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  7. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Henley, Andrew & Arabsheibani, G. Reza & Carneiro, Francisco G., 2006. "On defining and measuring the informal sector," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3866, The World Bank.
  9. Tybout, James R, 1983. "Credit Rationing and Investment Behavior in a Developing Country," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 598-607, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Szirmai, Adam & Gebreeyesus, Mulu & Guadagno, Francesca & Verspagen, Bart, 2013. "Promoting productive employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A review of the literature," MERIT Working Papers 062, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  2. Fox, Louise & Sohnesen , Thomas Pave, 2012. "Household enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa : why they matter for growth, jobs, and livelihoods," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6184, The World Bank.
  3. Christophe Nordman & Julia Vaillant, 2013. "Inputs, Gender Roles or Sharing Norms? Assessing the Gender Performance Gap Among Informal Entrepreneurs in Madagascar," Working Papers DT/2013/15, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  4. Marcus Böhme, Rainer Thiele, 2012. "Informal-formal Linkages and Informal Enterprise Performance in Urban West Africa," Kiel Working Papers 1751, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  5. Thiele, Rainer & Böhme, Marcus, 2011. "Is the Informal Sector Constrained from the Demand Side? Evidence for Six West African Capitals," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 48307, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  6. Pasquier-Doumer, Laure, 2011. "Intergenerational transmission of self-employed status in the informal sector: a constrained choice or better income prospects? Evidence from seven West-African countries," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 64, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  7. Grimm, Michael & Knorringa, Peter & Lay, Jann, 2012. "Constrained Gazelles: High Potentials in West Africa’s Informal Economy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 1352-1368.
  8. Göbel, Kristin & Grimm, Michael & Lay, Jann, 2012. "Constrained Firms, Not Subsistence Activities: Evidence on Capital Returns and Accumulation in Peruvian Microenterprises," IZA Discussion Papers 6866, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Grimm, Michael & Hartwig, Renate & Lay, Jann, 2013. "Does Forced Solidarity Hamper Investment in Small and Micro Enterprises?," IZA Discussion Papers 7229, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Ali, Merima & Peerlings, Jack & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2010. "Clustering as an organizational response to capital market inefficiency: Evidence from handloom enterprises in Ethiopia," IFPRI discussion papers 1045, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  11. Martijn Boermans & Daan Willebrands, 2012. "Financial constraints, risk taking and firm performance: Recent evidence from microfinance clients in Tanzania," DNB Working Papers 358, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  12. Grimm, Michael & Roubaud, François & Vaillant, Julia & Lann, Jay, 2011. "Informal Sector Dynamics in Times of Fragile Growth: the Case of Madagascar," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/7079, Paris Dauphine University.
  13. Juergen Bruenjes & Javier Revilla Diez, 2012. "Opportunity entrepreneurs - potential drivers of non-farm growth in rural Vietnam?," Working Papers on Innovation and Space 2012-01, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.

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