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The Effects of Business Environments on Development: Surveying New Firm-level Evidence

  • Lixin Colin Xu

In the past decade, the World Bank has promoted improving business environments as a key strategy for development, which has led to a significant effort in collecting surveys of the investment climate at the firm level across countries. The author examines the lessons that have emerged from the papers using these new data. The key finding is that the effects of business environments are heterogeneous and depend crucially on industry, initial conditions, and complementary institutions. Some elements of the business environment, such as labor flexibility, low entry and exit barriers, and a reasonable protection from the "grabbing hands" of the government, seem to matter a great deal for most economies. Other elements, such as infrastructure and contracting institutions (that is, courts and access to finance), hinge on their initial status and the size of the market. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 26 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 310-340

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:26:y:2011:i:2:p:310-340
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