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African small and medium enterprises, networks, and manufacturing performance

  • Biggs, Tyler
  • Shah, Manju Kedia
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    This paper examines the role of private support institutions in determining small and medium enterprise (SME) growth and performance in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It finds that SMEs in SSA get around market failures and lack of formal institutions by creating private governance systems in the form of long-term business relationships and tight, ethnically-based, business networks. There are important links between these informal governance institutions and SME performance. Networks raise the performance of"insiders"and, in the sparse business environments of the SSA region, have attendant negative consequences for market participation of"outsiders,"such as indigenous African SMEs. This is indicated through the determinants of access to supplier credit. Policy interventions will be needed to improve the platform for relation-based governance mechanisms and to address the exclusionary effects of tight networks.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3855.

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    Date of creation: 01 Feb 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3855
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    1. Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1998. "Explaining African economic performance," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1997-02.2, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willem Gunning & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Cathy Patillo & Mans Soderbom & Francis Teal & Albert Zeufack, 1999. "Contract Flexibility and Dispute Resolution in African Manufacturing," CSAE Working Paper Series 1999-20, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    3. Hall, Bronwyn H, 1987. "The Relationship between Firm Size and Firm Growth in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 583-606, June.
    4. Biggs, Tyler & Raturi, Mayank & Srivastava, Pradeep, 2002. "Ethnic networks and access to credit: evidence from the manufacturing sector in Kenya," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 473-486, December.
    5. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
    6. Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062364, June.
    7. Barr, Abigail, 2000. "Social Capital and Technical Information Flows in the Ghanaian Manufacturing Sector," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 539-59, July.
    8. Bernstein, Lisa, 1992. "Opting Out of the Legal System: Extralegal Contractual Relations in the Diamond Industry," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 115-57, January.
    9. Abigail Barr, 1998. "Enterprise performance and the functional diversity of social capital," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1998-01, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    10. Fafchamps, Marcel, 2000. "Ethnicity and credit in African manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 205-235, February.
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