IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Should I Stay or Should I Go: Investor Protection, Firm Selection and Aggregate Productivity


  • Bernardo Morais



The large cross-country variation in income per capita and aggregate productivity is highly correlated with various measures of investor protection. To account for this pattern I propose a theory of aggregate productivity based on firm selection. According to this theory, improvements in investor protection reduce the cost of credit of young firms, increasing the value of starting a project anew. This increase in the outside option of an incumbent raises the exit rate of low quality firms. A consequence of this selection mechanism is that the average productivity of old firms relative to young ones is increasing in the quality of investor protection. Using a comprehensive cross-country panel of firms, I show that this prediction holds in the data. What is more, quantitative simulations indicate that this selection mechanism accounts for around 25 percent of the cross-country differences in aggregate productivity. The model provides additional testable predictions reenforcing the plausibility of the theory. I show that in countries with better investor protection there is a larger share of young firms, these firms start larger, grow more slowly and deleverage more quickly. Finally, I analyze the effect that an exclusion from credit markets for an insolvent debtor has on the cost of credit and on aggregate outcomes. I find that the length of the exclusion that maximizes income per capita, is decreasing in the quality of investor protection.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernardo Morais, 2011. "Should I Stay or Should I Go: Investor Protection, Firm Selection and Aggregate Productivity," 2011 Meeting Papers 878, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:878

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo A. Hopenhayn, 2004. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 285-315.
    2. Thomas Cooley & Ramon Marimon & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2004. "Aggregate Consequences of Limited Contract Enforceability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 817-847, August.
    3. Jeremy Greenwood & Juan Sanchez & Cheng Wang, 2013. "Quantifying the Impact of Financial Development on Economic Development," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 194-215, January.
    4. Evans, David S, 1987. "The Relationship between Firm Growth, Size, and Age: Estimates for 100 Manufacturing Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 567-581, June.
    5. Rui Castro & Gian Luca Clementi & Glenn Macdonald, 2009. "Legal Institutions, Sectoral Heterogeneity, and Economic Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 529-561.
    6. Pedro S. Amaral & Erwan Quintin, 2010. "Limited Enforcement, Financial Intermediation, And Economic Development: A Quantitative Assessment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 785-811, August.
    7. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
    8. Gian Luca Clementi & Hugo A. Hopenhayn, 2006. "A Theory of Financing Constraints and Firm Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 229-265.
    9. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 151-172.
    10. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-670, May.
    11. Thomas Piketty, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 173-189.
    12. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Establishment Size Dynamics in the Aggregate Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1639-1666, December.
    13. Hyeok Jeong & Robert Townsend, 2007. "Sources of TFP growth: occupational choice and financial deepening," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(1), pages 179-221, July.
    14. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    15. David K. Musto, 1999. "The Reaquisition of Credit Following Chapter 7 Personal Bankruptcy," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 99-22, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    16. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski & Yongseok Shin, 2011. "Finance and Development: A Tale of Two Sectors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1964-2002, August.
    17. Simeon Djankov & Oliver Hart & Caralee McLiesh & Andrei Shleifer, 2008. "Debt Enforcement around the World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1105-1149, December.
    18. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144.
    19. Andres Erosa & Ana Hidalgo, 2005. "On Capital Market Imperfections as a Source of Low TFP and Economic Rents," Working Papers tecipa-200, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    20. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance, entrepreneurship and growth: Theory and evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 513-542, December.
    21. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-1150, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:red:sed011:878. 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: (Christian Zimmermann). General contact details of provider: .

    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 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.

    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.