Comparing Apples with....Apples : how to make (more) sense of subjective rankings of constraints to business
The use of expert or qualitative surveys to rank countries’ business investment conditions is widespread. However, within the economic literature there are concerns about measurement error and endogeneity based on characteristics of the respondents, raising questions about how well the data reflect the underlying reality they are trying to measure. This paper examines these concerns using data from 79,000 firms in 105 countries. The findings show that first, qualitative rankings correlate well with quantitative measures of the business environment, using both quantitative measures from within the survey and from external sources. Second, there are systematic variations in perceptions based on firm characteristics - focusing in particular on size and growth performance. However, it is not that an optimistic view of the business environment is simply the expression of a firm’s own performance. Rather, firm size and performance affect the relative importance of certain constraints, particularly in areas such as finance, time with officials/inspectors, corruption, and access to reliable electricity. The results also show that much of the variation in subjective responses by firm types is largely due to differences in the objective conditions across firm types. There is little evidence that size and performance have non-linear effects in how constraining a given objective condition is reported to be. Overall, concerns about endogeneity remain in using business environment indicators to explain firm performance, but this stems primarily from the fact that who you are and how well you are doing can affect the conditions you face rather than whether the indicator used is qualitative or quantitative.
|Date of creation:||01 Sep 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433|
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Brunnetti, Aymo & Kisunko, Gregory & Weder, Beatrice, 1997.
"Credibility of rules and economic growth : evidence from a worldwide survey of the private sector,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
1760, The World Bank.
- Brunetti, Aymo & Kisunko, Gregory & Weder, Beatrice, 1998. "Credibility of Rules and Economic Growth: Evidence from a Worldwide Survey of the Private Sector," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(3), pages 353-84, September.
- Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 2006. "Using Micro-Surveys to Measure and Explain Corruption," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 359-370, February.
- 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.
- Wendy Carlin & Mark Schaffer & Paul Seabright, 2006. "Where are the Real Bottlenecks? A Lagrangian Approach to Identifying Constraints on Growth from Subjective Survey Data," CERT Discussion Papers 0604, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
- Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Who Must Pay Bribes and How Much? Evidence from a Cross Section of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 207-230.
- Carlsen, Fredrik & Johansen, Kare, 2005. "Regional wages and subjective measures of employment opportunities," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 377-400, May.
- James Tybout, 1998.
"Manufacturing Firms In Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, And Why?,"
Development and Comp Systems
- James R. Tybout, 2000. "Manufacturing Firms in Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, and Why?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 11-44, March.
- Tybout, James, 1998. "Manufacuring firms in developing countries - how well do they do, and why?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1965, The World Bank.
- James Tybout, 1999. "Manufacturing Firms in Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, and Why?," Development and Comp Systems 9906001, EconWPA, revised 10 Jun 1999.
- Claudia Senik, 2005. "Income distribution and well-being: what can we learn from subjective data?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 43-63, 02.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001.
"The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2002. "Financial and legal constraints to firm growth - Does size matter?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2784, The World Bank.
- David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Experimental Evidence on Returns to Capital and Access to Finance in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 457-482, November.
- Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth Lee Sokoloff, 2002.
"Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development Among New World Economies,"
ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION,
ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2002), pages 41-110, August.
- Stanley L Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2002. "Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development Among New World Economics," NBER Working Papers 9259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2002.
"Property Rights and Finance,"
NBER Working Papers
8852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Menno Pradhan & Martin Ravallion, 2000. "Measuring Poverty Using Qualitative Perceptions Of Consumption Adequacy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 462-471, August.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5054. 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.