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On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution in an African Economy

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  • Justin Sandefur

Abstract

The size of the informal sector is commonly associated with low per capita GDP and a poor business environment. Recent episodes of reform and growth in several African countries appear to contradict this pattern. From the mid 1980’s onward, Ghana underwent dramatic liberalization and achieved steady growth, yet average firm size in the manufacturing sector fell from 19 to just 9 employees between 1987 and 2003. I use a new panel of Ghanaian firms, spanning 17 years immediately post-reform, to model firm dynamics that differ markedly from well-established ‘stylized facts’ in the empirical literature from other regions. In contrast with American and European firms, entry of new firms and selection on observable characteristics, rather than within-firm growth, dominates industrial evolution in Ghana.

Suggested Citation

  • Justin Sandefur, 2010. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution in an African Economy," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-05, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2010-05
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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/2010-05text.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Firm Size Matters: Growth and Productivity Growth in African Manufacturing," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 545-583, April.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Growth success in Africa: firms become smaller
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-09-03 18:58:00

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    Cited by:

    1. David N Margolis, 2014. "By Choice and by Necessity: Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment in the Developing World," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 26(4), pages 419-436, September.
    2. repec:ldr:wpaper:92 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Iacovone,Leonardo & Ramachandran,Vijaya & Schmidt,Martin, 2013. "Stunted growth : why don't African firms create more jobs ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6727, The World Bank.
    4. Andrew Kerr & Martin Wittenberg & Jairo Arrow, 2014. "Job Creation and Destruction in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 82(1), pages 1-18, March.
    5. Tomoo Kikuchi & Kazuo Nishimura & John Stachurski, 2012. "Coase meets Tarski: New Insights from Coase's Theory of the Firm," KIER Working Papers 828, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    6. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-85 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Shashidhara Kolavalli & Elizabeth Robinson & Guyslain Ngeleza & Felix Asante, 2012. "Economic Transformation in Ghana: Where Will the Path Lead?," Journal of African Development, African Finance and Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 41-78.
    8. Somdeep Chatterjee, 2016. "The role of the firm in worker wage dispersion: an analysis of the Ghanaian manufacturing sector," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-16, December.

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