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Services inputs and firm productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa : evidence from firm-level data

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  • Arnold, Jens Matthias
  • Mattoo, Aaditya
  • Narciso, Gaia

Abstract

The authors investigate the relationship between the productivity of African manufacturing firms and their access to services inputs. They use data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey for over 1,000 firms in 10 Sub-Saharan African countries to calculate the total factor productivity of firms. The Enterprise Surveys also contain unique measures of firms'access to communications, electricity, and financial services. The availability of these measures at the firm level, both as subjective and objective indicators, allows the authors to exploit the variation in services performance at the subnational regional level. Furthermore, by using the regional variation in services performance, they are also able to address concerns about the possible endogeneity of the services variables. The results show a significant and positive relationship between firm productivity and service performance in all three services sectors analyzed. The authors thus provide support for the argument that improvements in services industries contribute to enhancing the performance of downstream economic activities, and thus are an essential element of a strategy for promoting growth and reducing poverty.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4048.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4048

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Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; Education for the Knowledge Economy; Rural Communications; Commodities; Urban Economics;

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  1. James Tybout, 1999. "Manufacturing Firms in Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, and Why?," Development and Comp Systems 9906001, EconWPA, revised 10 Jun 1999.
  2. Arnold, Jens Matthias & Javorcik, Beata Smarzynska, 2005. "Gifted kids or pushy parents? Foreign acquisitions and plant performance in Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3597, The World Bank.
  3. Pavcnik, Nina, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvement: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 245-76, January.
  4. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  5. Catherine A. Pattillo & Taye Mengistae, 2002. "Export Orientation and Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 02/89, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Benn Eifert & Alan Gelb & Vijaya Ramachandran, 2005. "Business Environment and Comparative Advantage in Africa: Evidence from the Investment Climate Data," Working Papers 56, Center for Global Development.
  7. Clarke, George R.G., 2005. "Beyond tariffs and quotas : why don't African manufacturers export more?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3617, The World Bank.
  8. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Exporting Raises Productivity in Sub-Saharan African Manufacturing Plants," NBER Working Papers 10020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Freund, Caroline L. & Weinhold, Diana, 2004. "The effect of the Internet on international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 171-189, January.
  10. Fink, Carsten & Mattoo, Aaditya & Neagu, Ileana Cristina, 2005. "Assessing the impact of communication costs on international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 428-445, December.
  11. Mattoo, Aaditya & Rathindran, Randeep & Subramanian, Arvind, 2001. "Measuring services trade liberalization and its impact on economic growth : an illustration," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2655, The World Bank.
  12. Arnold, Jens & Mattoo, Aaditya & Smarzynska Javorcik, Beata, 2006. "Does Services Liberalization Benefit Manufacturing Firms?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5902, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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