Administrative barriers to foreign investment in developing countries
Recent international experience has shown that excessively complex administrative procedures, required to establish, and operate a business, discourage inflows of foreign direct investment. The authors present a new database on the administrative costs faced by private investors in 32 developing countries. The database is much more comprehensive than the existing sources, as it contains not only information on general entry procedures, such as business and tax registration, but also captures regulation on land access, site development, import procedures, and inspections, Thedata include measures on the number of procedures, direct monetary costs, and time. The cost of administrative procedures vary significantly across countries. The most important barriers appear to be the delays associated with securing land access, and obtaining building permits, which in several countries, take more than two years. Countries that impose excessive administrative costs on entry, tend to be equally intrusive in firm operations, thereby weakening the argument that barriers to entry, are a substitute for the government's unwillingness, or inability to regulate enterprise operations. The level of administrative costs is positively correlated with corruption incidence, and exhibits a negative correlation with the quality of governance, degree of openness, and public wages. These correlations suggest that administrative reforms, need to be incorporated into the broader agenda for reforms, such as trade and financial liberalization, the fight against corruption, and public sector administration.
|Date of creation:||31 May 2002|
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The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
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