IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hwe/certdp/0604.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Where are the Real Bottlenecks? A Lagrangian Approach to Identifying Constraints on Growth from Subjective Survey Data

Author

Listed:
  • Wendy Carlin
  • Mark Schaffer
  • Paul Seabright

Abstract

We use firm-level survey data from over 20,000 firms in about 60 countries to identify constraints on the growth of firms. We develop a Lagrangian approach and measure the cost of different constraints by using managers' answers to survey questions on what aspects of their external environment inhibit the operation and growth of their firm. Our model reveals that, contrary to the common practice in much of the existing literature on this question, the importance of an obstacle to growth is not, except under very restrictive assumptions, measured by the coefficient on the reported level of the obstacle in a growth regression. This parameter estimate is typically contaminated by the endogeneity of public good supply at a country level (better performing countries have higher levels of supply), and by the endogeneity of demand for public goods at a firm level (better performing firms need higher levels of public good inputs). We illustrate these biases for a number of obstacles to growth, and argue that such biases can account for anomalous findings in the literature. A priori arguments suggest that the subjective evaluation of finance constraints is different from other constraints and this too is reflected in the data. We show how the importance of different constraints varies across countries and how the cost of a constraint depends on the characteristics of the firm.

Suggested Citation

  • Wendy Carlin & Mark Schaffer & Paul Seabright, 2006. "Where are the Real Bottlenecks? A Lagrangian Approach to Identifying Constraints on Growth from Subjective Survey Data," CERT Discussion Papers 0604, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hwe:certdp:0604
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www2.hw.ac.uk/sml/downloads/cert/wpa/2006/dp0604.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Djankov, Simeon & McLiesh, Caralee & Shleifer, Andrei, 2007. "Private credit in 129 countries," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 299-329, May.
    2. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç‐Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 2005. "Financial and Legal Constraints to Growth: Does Firm Size Matter?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 137-177, February.
    3. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2002. "Financial and legal constraints to firm growth - Does size matter?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2784, The World Bank.
    4. Goldberg, Itzhak & Radulovic, Branko & Schaffer, Mark, 2005. "Productivity, ownership, and the investment climate : international lessons for priorities in Serbia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3681, The World Bank.
    5. 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.
    6. Meghana Ayyagari & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 2008. "How Important Are Financing Constraints? The Role of Finance in the Business Environment," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 483-516, November.
    7. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Tidiane Kinda & Patrick Plane & Marie‐Ange Véganzonès‐Varoudakis, 2011. "Firm Productivity And Investment Climate In Developing Countries: How Does Middle East And North Africa Manufacturing Perform?," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 49(4), pages 429-462, December.
    2. Mai Huong Giang & Tran Dang Xuan & Bui Huy Trung & Mai Thanh Que & Yuichiro Yoshida, 2018. "Impact of Investment Climate on Total Factor Productivity of Manufacturing Firms in Vietnam," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-18, December.
    3. Rijkers, Bob & Söderbom, Måns & Loening, Josef L., 2010. "A Rural-Urban Comparison of Manufacturing Enterprise Performance in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1278-1296, September.
    4. Álvarez, Begoña & Vera-Hernández, Marcos, 2013. "Exploiting subjective information to understand impoverished children's use of health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1194-1204.
    5. Carlin, Wendy & Schaffer, Mark & Seabright, Paul, 2013. "Soviet power plus electrification: What is the long-run legacy of communism?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 116-147.
    6. Gelb, Alan & Ramachandran, Vijaya & Shah, Manju Kedia & Turner, Ginger, 2007. "What matters to African firms ? the relevance of perceptions data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4446, The World Bank.
    7. Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Aterido, Reyes, 2009. "Comparing Apples with....Apples : how to make (more) sense of subjective rankings of constraints to business," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5054, The World Bank.
    8. Hanusch, Marek, 2012. "The doing business indicators, economic growth and regulatory reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6176, The World Bank.
    9. Commander, Simon & Svejnar, Jan & Tinn, Katrin, 2008. "Explaining the performance of firms and countries: What does the business environment play?," Working Papers 836, Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg State University.
    10. Commander, Simon & Nikoloski, Zlatko, 2010. "Institutions and Economic Performance: What Can Be Explained?," IZA Discussion Papers 5247, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Mertzanis, Charilaos, 2016. "The absorption of financial services in an Islamic environment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(S), pages 216-236.
    12. Pradeep Mitra & Alexander Muravyev & Mark E. Schaffer, 2008. "Convergence in Institutions and Market Outcomes: Cross-Country and Time-Series Evidence from the BEEPS Surveys in Transition Economies," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 847, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing & Sur, Mona, 2007. "Sri Lanka's Rural Non-Farm Economy: Removing Constraints to Pro-Poor Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2056-2078, December.
    14. Rijkers, Bob & Soderbom, Mans & Loening, Josef, 2009. "Mind the gap ? a rural-urban comparison of manufacturing firms," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4946, The World Bank.
    15. Aidis, Ruta & Estrin, Saul & Mickiewicz, Tomasz, 2009. "Entrepreneurial Entry: Which Institutions Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7278, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Commander, Simon & Svejnar, Jan, 2007. "Do Institutions, Ownership, Exporting and Competition Explain Firm Performance? Evidence from 26 Transition Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 2637, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Fadil Sahiti & Helen Lawton Smith, 2017. "An application of growth diagnostics on the growth of firms: with evidence from Kosovo firms," Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 1-24, December.
    18. Victor Motta, 2017. "Are SMEs in the hospitality industry less likely to experience credit constraint than other industries in the service sector? Evidence from Latin America," Tourism Economics, , vol. 23(7), pages 1398-1418, November.
    19. Mitra, Pradeep & Muravyev, Alexander & Schaffer, Mark E., 2009. "Convergence in institutions and market outcomes: cross-country and time-series evidence from the business environment and enterprise performance surveys in transition economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4819, The World Bank.
    20. 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.
    21. Judy S. Yang, 2017. "The governance environment and innovative SMEs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 525-541, March.
    22. Seker, Murat & Yang, Judy S., 2012. "How bribery distorts firm growth : differences by firm attributes," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6046, The World Bank.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Carmen Pagés-Serra & Reyes Aterido & Mary Hallward-Driemeier, 2007. "Clima de negocios y creación de empleo: El efecto del acceso al crédito, la corrupción y el marco regulatorio en el crecimiento de las empresas," Research Department Publications 4560, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    2. Carmen Pagés-Serra & Reyes Aterido & Mary Hallward-Driemeier, 2007. "Investment Climate and Employment Growth: The Impact of Access to Finance, Corruption and Regulations Across Firms," Research Department Publications 4559, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. Jevgenijs Steinbuks, 2008. "Financial constraints and firms' investment: results of a natural experiment measuring firm response to power interruption," Working Papers EPRG 0823, Energy Policy Research Group, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
    4. Beck, Thorsten, 2006. "Creating an efficient financial system : challenges in a global economy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3856, The World Bank.
    5. Klaus S. Friesenbichler & Oliver Fritz & Werner Hölzl & Gerhard Streicher & Florian Misch & Mustafa Yeter, 2014. "The Efficiency of EU Public Administration in Helping Firms Grow," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 50931.
    6. Long,Cheryl Xiaoning & Xu,L. Colin & Yang,Jin, 2020. "Business Environment and Dual-Track Private Sector Development : China's Experience in Two Crucial Decades," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9161, The World Bank.
    7. Meghana Ayyagari & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 2008. "How Important Are Financing Constraints? The Role of Finance in the Business Environment," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 483-516, November.
    8. Meghana Ayyagari & Asli Demirgüc-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 2008. "How Well Do Institutional Theories Explain Firms' Perceptions of Property Rights?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 1833-1871, July.
    9. Reyes Aterido & Mary Hallward-Driemeier & Carmen Pagés, 2011. "Big Constraints to Small Firms' Growth? Business Environment and Employment Growth across Firms," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 609-647.
    10. Mendoza, Ronald U. & Canare, Tristan A. & Ang, Alvin, 2015. "Doing Business: A Review of Literature and Its Role in APEC 2015," Discussion Papers DP 2015-37, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    11. Beck, Thorsten & Rahman, Md. Habibur, 2006. "Creating a more efficient financial system : challenges for Bangladesh," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3938, The World Bank.
    12. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli, 2006. "Finance and economic development : policy choices for developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3955, The World Bank.
    13. Judy S. Yang, 2017. "The governance environment and innovative SMEs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 525-541, March.
    14. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Maria Soledad Martinez Peria, 2008. "Banking Services for Everyone? Barriers to Bank Access and Use around the World," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 397-430, November.
    15. Fernandes, Ana M., 2008. "Firm Productivity in Bangladesh Manufacturing Industries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1725-1744, October.
    16. Bouton, Lawrence & Tiongson, Erwin R., 2010. "Subjective perceptions of financing constraints: How well do they reflect credit market conditions?," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 98-105, June.
    17. Friesenbichler, Klaus & Fritz, Oliver & Hölzl, Werner & Misch, Florian & Streicher, Gerhard & Yeter, Mustafa, 2014. "The efficiency of EU public administration in helping firms grow: Final report," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research, number 111450, March.
    18. Haider, Zulfiquer Ali & Liu, Mingzhi & Wang, Yefeng & Zhang, Ying, 2018. "Government ownership, financial constraint, corruption, and corporate performance: International evidence," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 76-93.
    19. Knack, Steve & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2017. "Unbundling institutions for external finance: Worldwide firm-level evidence," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 215-232.
    20. Ullah, Barkat, 2021. "Does innovation explain the performance gap between privatized and private firms?," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 113(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public goods; constraints on growth; infrastructure; finance; institutions; subjective data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hwe:certdp:0604. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cehwuuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Colin Miller (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cehwuuk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.