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Public Policy and Resource Allocation: Evidence from Firms in OECD Countries


  • Dan Andrews


  • Federico Cingano

    (Bank of Italy)


The correlation between a firm’s size and its productivity level varies considerably across OECD countries, suggesting that some countries are more successful at channelling resources to high productivity firms than others. Accordingly, we examine the extent to which regulations affecting product, labour and credit markets influence productivity, via their effect on the efficiency of resource allocation. Our results suggest that there is an economically and statistically robust negative relationship between policy-induced frictions and productivity, though the specific channel depends on the policy considered. In the case of employment protection legislation, product market regulations (including barriers to entry and bankruptcy legislation) and restrictions on foreign direct investment, this is largely traceable to the worsening of allocative efficiency (i.e. a lower correspondence between a firm’s size and its productivity level). By contrast, financial market under-development tends to be associated with a higher fraction of low productivity relative to high productivity firms. Furthermore, stringent regulations are more disruptive to resource allocation in more innovative sectors, though the nature of innovation turns out to be important. Politiques publiques et allocation des ressources : Des preuves provenant des entreprises dans les pays de l'OCDE La corrélation entre la taille d’une entreprise et son niveau de productivité varie considérablement selon les pays de l’OCDE, ce qui suggère que certains pays réussissent mieux à affecter les ressources à des entreprises à forte productivité que d’autres. Par conséquent, nous examinons dans quelle mesure les réglementations affectant les marchés des produits, du travail et du crédit influent sur la productivité, grâce à leur effet sur l’efficacité de l’affectation des ressources. Nos résultats suggèrent qu’il existe une relation économiquement et statistiquement négative robuste entre les frictions induites par la politique et la productivité, même si le canal spécifique dépend de la politique considérée. Dans le cas de la législation sur la protection de l’emploi, de la réglementation des marchés de produits (y compris les barrières à l’entrée et à la législation sur les faillites) et des restrictions à l’investissement direct à l’étranger, c’est en grande partie attribuable à la détérioration de l’efficacité allocative (i.e. une faible correspondance entre la taille de l’entreprise et son niveau de productivité). En revanche, le sous-développement du marché financier tend à être associe à une proportion plus élevée des entreprises à faible productivité par rapport aux entreprises à forte productivité. En outre, les réglementations strictes perturbent plus l’allocation des ressources dans des secteurs plus innovants, bien que la nature de l’innovation s’avère être importante.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Andrews & Federico Cingano, 2012. "Public Policy and Resource Allocation: Evidence from Firms in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 996, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:996-en

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    allocative efficiency; données sur les entreprises; effectifs de migrants; firm level data; productivity; productivité; regulations; régulation;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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