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Informality and Regulations; What Drives Firm Growth?

  • Era Dabla-Norris
  • Gabriela Inchauste

The paper relies on a rich firm-level data set on transition economies to examine the role of informality as an important channel through which regulatory and other policy constraints affect firm growth. We find that firms reduce their formal operations with a higher tax and regulatory burden, but increase it with better enforcement quality. In terms of firm growth, we find a differential impact of regulatory burden and enforcement quality on formal and informal firms. In particular, we find that growth in formal firms is negatively affected by both tax and financing constraints, while these constraints are insignificant for growth in informal firms. Moreover, formal firm growth improves with better enforcement as measured by fair and impartial courts, while informal firm growth is constrained by organized crime, pointing to their inability to take full advantage of the legal and judicial systems. Finally, when we look at country-wide institutions, we find that higher regulatory burden reduces firm growth. An interactive term between a country-wide measure of the rule of law and a proxy for formality suggests that better enforcement quality dampens the relatively weaker growth in formal firms.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 07/112.

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Length: 26
Date of creation: 01 May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/112
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  1. Stephane Straub, 2005. "Informal Sector: The Credit Market Channel," ESE Discussion Papers 101, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  2. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  3. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Juan Botero, 2003. "The Regulation of Labor," NBER Working Papers 9756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Klapper, Leora & Laeven, Luc & Rajan, Raghuram, 2004. "Business environment and firm entry : Evidence from international data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3232, The World Bank.
  5. Mihir Desai & Paul Gompers & Josh Lerner, 2003. "Institutions, Capital Constraints and Entrepreneurial Firm Dynamics: Evidence from Europe," NBER Working Papers 10165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & López-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "The Regulation of Entry," CEPR Discussion Papers 2953, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "Financial Dependence and Growth," CRSP working papers 344, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  9. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2002. "Property Rights and Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1335-1356, December.
  10. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Warlters, Michael, 2004. "Taxation Base in Developing Countries," IDEI Working Papers 292, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  11. Friedrich G. Schneider, 2006. "Shadow Economies and Corruption all over the World: What do we really know?," Economics working papers 2006-17, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  12. Loayza, Norman V. & Oviedo, Ana Maria & Serven, Luis, 2005. "Regulation and macroeconomic performance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3469, The World Bank.
  13. Aureo de Paula & Jose A Sheinkman, 2007. "The Informal Sector," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001663, UCLA Department of Economics.
  14. Besley, Timothy J. & Burgess, Robin, 2002. "Can Labour Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," CEPR Discussion Papers 3260, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Johnson, Simon & McMillan, John & Woodruff, Christopher, 1999. "Why do Firms Hide? Bribes and Unofficial Activity After Communism," CEPR Discussion Papers 2105, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. 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, 02.
  17. repec:reg:rpubli:271 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Friedrich Schneider & Robert Klinglmair, 2004. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we know?," Economics working papers 2004-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  19. Loayza, Norman V. & Oviedo, Ana Maria & Serven, Luis, 2005. "The impact of regulation on growth and informality - cross-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3623, The World Bank.
  20. Maloney, William, 2003. "Informality revisited," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2965, The World Bank.
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