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Is the World Flat? Or Do Countries Still Matter?

  • Alberto Chong


  • Mark Gradstein

This paper revisits the effects of a countrys institutional framework on individual firms behavior, in particular focusing on their propensity to comply with legal rules. The theoretical model presented here suggests that these effects may be of paramount significancecontrary to the recently popularized paradigm arguing that differences across countries have ceased to matter much. This papers empirical strategy consists of explaining the variation in measures of non-compliance with legal rules and employs a rich dataset based on thousands of firms from dozens of countries. We find that most of the variation emanates from country-wide differences in institutional quality, although some firm characteristics play a role as well. Our conclusion is that countries still matter in providing institutional infrastructure, which determines to a large extent the context within which firms operate.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4488.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4488
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  1. Doidge, Craig & Karolyi, G. Andrew & Stulz, Rene M., 2004. "Why Do Countries Matter So Much for Corporate Governance?," Working Paper Series 2004-16, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  2. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
  3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Legal Origins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1193-1229.
  5. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2005. "Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 385-472 Elsevier.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2004. "Institutions As The Fundamental Cause Of Long-Run Growth," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 002889, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  7. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Dabla-Norris, Era & Gradstein, Mark & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2008. "What causes firms to hide output? The determinants of informality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 1-27, February.
  9. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
  10. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2006. "Cultures of Corruption: Evidence From Diplomatic Parking Tickets," NBER Working Papers 12312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. R. Hirschowitz, 1989. "The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 57(4), pages 266-272, December.
  12. Daniel Berkowitz & Johannes Moenius & Katharina Pistor, 2006. "Trade, Law, and Product Complexity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 363-373, May.
  13. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
  14. Botero, J. C. & Djankov, S. & Porta, R. L. & Lopez-de-Silanes, F. & Shleifer, Andrei, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," Scholarly Articles 27867241, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2003. "Unbundling Institutions," NBER Working Papers 9934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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