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Do Institutions, Ownership, Exporting and Competition Explain Firm Performance? Evidence from 26 Transition Countries

  • Commander, Simon


    (IE Business School, Altura Partners)

  • Svejnar, Jan


    (Columbia University)

We analyze a large stratified random sample of firms that provide us with measures of performance and each firm’s top manager’s perception of the severity of business environment constraints faced by his/her firm. Unlike most existing studies that rely on external and aggregated proxy measures of the business environment, defined to include legal and institutional features, we have information from each surveyed firm. Specifically, we use the 2005 and 2002 Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS) to assess the effect on performance of ownership, competition, export orientation and the business environment of the firm. We employ a variety of approaches to deal with the problem of omitted variables, errors in variables and endogeneity that plague studies in this area. We find that foreign ownership and competition have an impact on performance – measured as the level of sales controlling for inputs. Export orientation of the firm does not have an effect on performance once ownership is taken into account. When we analyze the impact of perceived constraints, we show that few retain explanatory power once they are introduced jointly rather than one at a time, or when country, industry and year fixed effects are introduced. Indeed, country fixed effects largely absorb the explanatory power of the constraints faced by individual firms. Replicating the analysis with commonly used country-level indicators of the business environment, we do not find much of a relationship between constraints and performance. Our analysis brings into question an important part of the conventional wisdom in this area. It indicates that country fixed effects, reflecting time-invariant differences in the business environment but also other factors, matter for firm performance, but that differences in the business environment observed across firms within countries do not. Moreover, the limited firm- and country-level variations in the business environment over time do not appear to affect performance either. This suggests that the effect of business environment on performance and the analysts’ ability to identify this effect are more limited than has been assumed to date.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2637.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2637
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  1. Carmen Pagés & Alejandro Micco, 2007. "The Economic Effects of Employment Protection: Evidence from International Industry-Level Data," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4120, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. Levine, Ross & Zervos, Sara, 1996. "Stock markets, banks, and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1690, The World Bank.
  3. 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.
  4. Jan Hanousek & Evžen Kočenda & Jan Svejnar, 2007. "Origin and concentration," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 15(1), pages 1-31, 03.
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  6. Wendy Carlin & Mark Schaffer & Paul Seabright, 2004. "A Minimum of Rivalry: Evidence from Transition Economies on the Importance of Competition for Innovation and Growth," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-670, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  7. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon, 1999. "Enterprise performance and management turnover in the Czech Republic," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 1115-1124, April.
  8. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Governance matters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2196, The World Bank.
  9. 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.
  10. Philippe Aghion & Robin Burgess & Stephen Redding & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "The Unequal Effects of Liberalization: Evidence from Dismantling the License Raj in India," CEP Discussion Papers dp0728, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-86, June.
  12. Ricardo Hausmann & Bailey Klinger, 2008. "Growth Diagnostic: Peru," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 44998, Inter-American Development Bank.
  13. Klapper, Leora F. & Love, Inessa, 2004. "Corporate governance, investor protection, and performance in emerging markets," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 703-728, November.
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  16. Dollar, David & Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Mengistae, Taye, 2006. "Investment climate and international integration," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1498-1516, September.
  17. Durnev, Art & Kim, E. Han, 2004. "To Steal or Not to Steal: Firm Attributes, Legal Environment, and Valuation," CEI Working Paper Series 2004-7, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  18. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2001. "Courts and Relational Contracts," NBER Working Papers 8572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Klara Sabirianova & Jan Svejnar & Katherine Terrell, 2005. "Foreign Investment, Corporate Ownership, and Development:Are Firms in Emerging Markets Catching Up to the World Standard?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp734, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  20. Pissarides, Francesca & Singer, Miroslav & Svejnar, Jan, 2003. "Objectives and constraints of entrepreneurs: evidence from small and medium size enterprises in Russia and Bulgaria," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 503-531, September.
  21. Art Durnev & Kan Li & Randall Mørck & Bernard Yeung, 2004. "Capital markets and capital allocation: Implications for economies in transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 12(4), pages 593-634, December.
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  23. Carlin, Wendy & Schaffer, Mark E & Seabright, Paul, 2007. "Where Are the Real Bottlenecks? Evidence from 20,000 Firms in 60 Countries about the Shadow Costs of Constraints to Firm Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 3059, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  26. Schmidt, Peter, 1988. "Estimation of a fixed-effect Cobb-Douglas system using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 361-380, March.
  27. Nandini Gupta & John Ham & Jan Svejnar, 2000. "Priorities and Sequencing in Privatization: Theory and Evidence from the Czech Republic," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1580, Econometric Society.
  28. Klara Sabirianova & Jan Svejnar & Katherine Terrell, 2005. "Distance to the Efficiency Frontier and Foreign Direct Investment Spillovers," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 576-586, 04/05.
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