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The Cost of Doing Business in Africa: Evidence from Enterprise Survey Data

  • Eifert, Benn
  • Gelb, Alan
  • Ramachandran, Vijaya
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    Summary Data from the World Bank Enterprise Surveys show that indirect costs (related to infrastructure and services) account for a relatively high share of firms' costs in poor African countries and pose a competitive burden on African firms. We estimate firm-level revenue and value-added functions for six industries in 17 developing countries, demonstrating that firm performance is sensitive to the cost of indirect inputs. As indirect inputs are not usually included in estimations of value added, we argue that existing estimates understate the relative performance of African manufacturing firms.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 9 (September)
    Pages: 1531-1546

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:36:y:2008:i:9:p:1531-1546
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    4. 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.
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    9. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
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    14. Dollar, David & Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Mengistae, Taye, 2005. "Investment Climate and Firm Performance in Developing Economies," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 1-31, October.
    15. Irwin, Douglas A., 2000. "Did Late-Nineteenth-Century U.S. Tariffs Promote Infant Industries? Evidence from the Tinplate Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(02), pages 335-360, June.
    16. Berndt, Ernst R & Wood, David O, 1975. "Technology, Prices, and the Derived Demand for Energy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(3), pages 259-68, August.
    17. Buys, Piet & Deichmann, Uwe & Wheeler, David, 2006. "Road network upgrading and overland trade expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4097, The World Bank.
    18. Escribano, Alvaro & Guasch, J. Luis, 2005. "Assessing the impact of the investment climate on productivity using firm-level data : methodology and the cases of Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3621, The World Bank.
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