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Finding a path to formalization in Benin : early results after the introduction of the entreprenant legal status

Author

Listed:
  • Benhassine,Najy
  • Mckenzie,David J.
  • Pouliquen,Victor Maurice Joseph
  • Santini,Massimiliano

Abstract

In April 2014, the Government of Benin launched the entreprenant status, a simplified and free legal regime offered to small informal businesses to enter the formal economy. This paper presents the short-term results of a randomized impact evaluation testing three different versions of the entreprenant status on business registration decisions, each version including incremental incentives to registration: (i) information on the new legal status and its benefits, (ii) business training, counseling services, and support to open a bank account, (iii) tax mediation services. The study included 3,600 informal businesses operating with a fixed location in Cotonou, Benin, which were randomly allocated between three treatment groups and one control group. One year after the program launch, all versions of the program had significant impact on formalization rates. The impact was 9.1 percentage points in the first treatment group; 13 percentage points in the second group; and 15.8 percentage points in the last group. The program had a higher impact on male business owners, with more education, operating outside Dantokpa Market, in sectors other than trade, and that before being offered the incentives to formalization had characteristics similar to businesses that were already formal. Data from a second follow-up survey, which is expected to take place in March 2016, will explore the impacts on other outcomes, like business performances or access to banking.

Suggested Citation

  • Benhassine,Najy & Mckenzie,David J. & Pouliquen,Victor Maurice Joseph & Santini,Massimiliano, 2015. "Finding a path to formalization in Benin : early results after the introduction of the entreprenant legal status," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7510, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7510
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rafael La Porta & Andrei Shleifer, 2014. "Informality and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 109-126, Summer.
    2. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2013. "The Demand for, and Consequences of, Formalization among Informal Firms in Sri Lanka," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 122-150, April.
    3. Miriam Bruhn & David McKenzie, 2014. "Entry Regulation and the Formalization of Microenterprises in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 29(2), pages 186-201.
    4. Gustavo Henrique de Andrade & Miriam Bruhn & David McKenzie, 2016. "A Helping Hand or the Long Arm of the Law? Experimental Evidence on What Governments Can Do to Formalize Firms," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 30(1), pages 24-54.
    5. Bruhn, Miriam, 2013. "A tale of two species: Revisiting the effect of registration reform on informal business owners in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 275-283.
    6. Campos,Francisco Moraes Leitao & Goldstein,Markus P. & Mckenzie,David J. & Campos,Francisco Moraes Leitao & Goldstein,Markus P. & Mckenzie,David J., 2015. "Short-term impacts of formalization assistance and a bank information session on business registration and access to finance in Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7183, The World Bank.
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