IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Assessing the impact of the investment climate on productivity using firm-level data : methodology and the cases of Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua

  • Escribano, Alvaro
  • Guasch, J. Luis

Developing countries are increasingly concerned about improving country competitiveness and productivity as they face the increasing pressures of globalization and attempt to improve economic growth and reduce poverty. Among such countries, investment climate assessments (ICA) have become a standard instrument for identifying key obstacles to country competitiveness and imputing their impact on productivity, in order to prioritize policy reforms for enhancing competitiveness. Given the survey objectives and the nature and limitations of the data collected, the authors discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using different productivity measures based on data at the firm level. Their main objective is to develop a methodology to appropriately estimate, in a robust manner, the productivity impact of the investment climate variables. To illustrate the use of this methodology, the authors apply it to the data collected for ICAs in three countries-Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Observations in logarithms (logs) of the variables, and not in rates of growth, are pooled from all three countries. The econometric analysis is done with variables in logs to reduce the impact of measurement errors and allow inclusion of as many observations as possible since the"panel"data set is very unbalanced. The authors address the endogeneity of the production function inputs and of the investment climate variables by using a variant of the control function approach based on individual firm information, and by aggregating investment climate variables by industry and region. The authors show that it is possible to get robust results for 10 differentproductivity measures, if one follows a consistent econometric methodology of specification and estimation. For policy analysis, they recommend using those results of investment climate variables on productivity that are robust for most of the productivity measures. The also analyze efficiency aspects of firms in each country. Finally, they decompose the results to obtain country-specific impacts and establish corresponding priorities for policy reform. The actual estimates for the three countries show the level of significance of the impact of investment climate variables on productivity. Variables in several categories, red tape and infrastructure in particular, appear to account for over 30 percent of productivity. The policy implications are clear: investment climate matters enormously and the relative impact of the various investment climate variables indicates where reform efforts should be directed. Given the robustness of the results, the authors argue that the econometric methodology of productivity analysis developed here ought to be used as a benchmark to assess productivity effects for other ICAs or surveys with firm-level data of similar characteristics.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3621.

in new window

Date of creation: 01 Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3621
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2002. "Property Rights and Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1335-1356, December.
  2. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian & Alvaro Riascos & James A. Schmitz, 2006. "Latin America in the rearview mirror," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sep.
  3. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1719, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Susanto Basu & John Fernald, 2001. "Why Is Productivity Procyclical? Why Do We Care?," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 225-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-47, October.
  6. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2002. "Information Technology and the U.S. Productivity Revival: What Do the Industry Data Say?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1559-1576, December.
  7. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Dollar, David & Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Mengistae, Taye, 2005. "Investment Climate and Firm Performance in Developing Economies," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 1-31, October.
  9. Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Zvi Griliches, 1995. "The Discovery of the Residual: An Historical Note," NBER Working Papers 5348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Alexander, W. Robert J. & Bell, John. D. & Knowles, Stephen, 2004. "Quantifying Compliance Costs for Small Businesses in New Zealand," Working Paper Series 3872, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
  12. Prescott, Edward C, 1998. "Needed: A Theory of Total Factor Productivity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 525-51, August.
  13. Klapper, Leora & Laeven, Luc & Rajan, Raghuram, 2004. "Business environment and firm entry : Evidence from international data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3232, The World Bank.
  14. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian, 2005. "From "Hindu Growth" to Productivity Surge: The Mystery of the Indian Growth Transition," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(2), pages 193-228, September.
  15. Art Durnev & E. Han Kim, 2003. "Corporate Stability and Economic Growth," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 554, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  16. Barry P. Bosworth & Susan M. Collins, 2003. "The Empirics of Growth: An Update," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 113-206.
  17. Loayza, Norman V. & Oviedo, Ana Maria & Serven, Luis, 2005. "Regulation and macroeconomic performance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3469, The World Bank.
  18. Richard Blundell & James Powell, 2001. "Endogeneity in nonparametric and semiparametric regression models," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/01, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  19. Lucia Foster & John C. Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2001. "Aggregate Productivity Growth. Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 303-372 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Eric J. Bartelsman & Mark Doms, 2000. "Understanding productivity: lessons from longitudinal microdata," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:1:p:83-116 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Zvi Griliches, 1995. "The Discovery of the Residual: A Historic Note," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1742, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  24. Pasaran, M.H. & Im, K.S. & Shin, Y., 1995. "Testing for Unit Roots in Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9526, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  25. John McMillan, 1998. "Managing Economic Change: Lessons from New Zealand," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(6), pages 827-843, 08.
  26. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1999. "GMM estimation with persistent panel data: an application to production functions," IFS Working Papers W99/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  27. repec:crs:wpaper:9730 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian, 2004. "From “Hindu Growth†to Productivity Surge: The Mystery of the Indian Growth Transition," IMF Working Papers 04/77, International Monetary Fund.
  29. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U. S. Economy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1911, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  30. Hall, Robert E & Jones, Charles I, 1997. "Levels of Economic Activity across Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 173-77, May.
  31. Bernard Yeung & Kathy S. He & Randall Morck, 2004. "Corporate Stability and Economic Growth," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 84, Econometric Society.
  32. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  33. Dollar, David & Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Mengistae, Taye, 2006. "Investment climate and international integration," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1498-1516, September.
  34. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
  35. Brown, G. Marvin, 1998. "Managing Change," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 29(1), February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3621. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.