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Direct support to private firms - evidence on effectiveness

Author

Listed:
  • Batra, Geeta
  • Mahmood, Syed

Abstract

Governments use a variety of instruments to provide direct support to private enterprises. These include the provision of finance (subsidized and/or directed credit) and business development services (management and marketing advice to small businesses, agricultural extension services, support for enterprise level training and support to technology development). These interventions are distinct from those that support enterprises indirectly by establishing a policy and legal environment conducive to enterprise development. How effective have these direct support schemes been? This paper attempts to provide some answers to this question by surveying the available literature on the effectiveness of direct support interventions. Where available, impact evaluations suggest that the performance has been mixed at best. The evidence indicates that active intervention does not work unless the basic environment for private sector development is sound. Public policy thus needs to focus on creating an enabling environment, key elements of which include a sound legal and judicial system which supports low-cost contract enforcement, good infrastructure, a policy playing field which is level in terms of ease of registration, taxes and investment incentives for all enterprises-large and small, domestic and foreign.

Suggested Citation

  • Batra, Geeta & Mahmood, Syed, 2003. "Direct support to private firms - evidence on effectiveness," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3170, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3170
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 1996. "Financial constraints, uses of funds, and firm growth : an international comparison," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1671, The World Bank.
    2. Anderson, Jock R. & Feder, Gershon, 2007. "Agricultural Extension," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Elsevier.
    3. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
    4. Dar, Amit & Tzannatos, Zafiris, 1999. "Active labor market programs: a review of the evidence from evaluations," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 20116, The World Bank.
    5. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1986. "Externalities in Economies with Imperfect Information and Incomplete Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 229-264.
    6. Zaman, Hassan, 1999. "Assessing the impact of micro-credit on poverty and vulnerability in Bangladesh," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2145, The World Bank.
    7. Keesing, Donald B. & Singer, Andrew, 1990. "Development assistance gone wrong : why support services have failed to expand exports," Policy Research Working Paper Series 543, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2004. "Zambia : An Assessment of the Investment Climate," World Bank Other Operational Studies 13882, The World Bank.
    2. Bernard Hoekman, 2004. "Policies Facilitating Firm Adjustment to Globalization," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 457-473, Autumn.

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