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What influences firms' perceptions?


  • Kaplan, David S.
  • Pathania, Vikram


Perceptions-based indicators are sometimes used to measure the quality of the business environment. For instance, firms are asked about the major constraints on business operations and expansion. Little is known, however, about what shapes their responses. In this paper, using perceptions-based indicators from 38 countries (84 country-year pairs) from the World Bank Enterprise Surveys, we argue that firm responses are critically influenced by macroeconomic conditions. Paradoxically, we find that perceptions worsen during periods of high GDP growth. We also examine other indicators from the Enterprise Surveys that are objective measures of constraints, and find mixed evidence on how business constraints vary with the business cycle. Finally, we find that firms that introduce new product lines, which are likely those with the most interactions with regulatory agencies, have particularly bad perceptions of the business environment. We conclude that changes in firms' perceptions over time may not reflect changes in the business environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaplan, David S. & Pathania, Vikram, 2010. "What influences firms' perceptions?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 419-431, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:38:y:2010:i:4:p:419-431

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:tpr:asiaec:v:16:y:2017:i:2:p:55-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jahedi, Salar & Méndez, Fabio, 2014. "On the advantages and disadvantages of subjective measures," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 97-114.
    3. ROUGIER Eric, 2015. "\"The parts and the whole”: Unbundling and re-bundling institutional systems and their effect on economic development," Cahiers du GREThA 2015-12, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    4. World Bank Group, 2015. "Myanmar Investment Climate Assessment : Sustaining Reforms in a Time of Transition," World Bank Other Operational Studies 21596, The World Bank.
    5. Şeker, Murat & Yang, Judy S., 2014. "Bribery solicitations and firm performance in the Latin America and Caribbean region," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 246-264.
    6. Seker, Murat & Yang, Judy S., 2012. "How bribery distorts firm growth : differences by firm attributes," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6046, The World Bank.
    7. Van-Ha Le & Jakob de Haan & Erik Dietzenbacher, 2013. "Do Higher Government Wages Reduce Corruption? Evidence Based on a Novel Dataset," CESifo Working Paper Series 4254, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Lu, Jiangyong & Liu, Xiaohui & Filatotchev, Igor & Wright, Mike, 2014. "The impact of domestic diversification and top management teams on the international diversification of Chinese firms," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 455-467.


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