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business environment

What are the benefits to firms from formalization?

Mohammad Amin's picture

The Enterprise Surveys recently launched an ambitious project to survey informal firms around the globe. Results from three surveys conducted in Ivory Coast, Madagascar and Mauritius are now available. Informal firms surveyed were asked if getting registered would help them or not through better access to finance, raw materials, less bribes, etc.

Reformers Club 2009: Stimulating growth in difficult times

Ryan Hahn's picture

For the third year running, the Doing Business team has celebrated the top Doing Business reformers from around the world. The Reformers Club this year includes the following countries: Azerbaijan, Albania, Kyrgyz Republic, Belarus, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Egypt. Representatives of each country received awards at a ceremony held this Wednesday in Vienna.

Do we need to worry about enforcement of laws?

Mohammad Amin's picture

It goes without saying that rules, laws and regulations are meaningless if they are not enforced. Yet, the bulk of the literature on the effects of various laws is completely silent on the enforcement issue. The implicit assumption is that measures based on laws on the books are a reasonably good proxy for actual enforcement of laws and so an explicit reference to enforcement is not required. Is there any reason to think this is a plausible assumption?

The heavy hand of regulation and the hidden cost of information

Mohammad Amin's picture

In his presidential address to the American Economic Association, Avinash Dixit (2009) notes that laws and regulations are necessary for security of property rights, enforcement of contracts and overcoming collective action problems – something that the private sector cannot function without. However, laws and regulations are unlikely to have much beneficial effect if private agents are simply not aware of them. How easy is it for firms to obtain information on laws and regulations?

What is missing in development policy debates?

Mohammad Amin's picture

Good policy making – in the development field or in any field for that matter – involves three steps. First, a problem must be identified or a goal needs to be set. Second, policy measures that can take us to the stated goal need to be identified. The third step is to find the “least costly” policy measure, or what is called the “first-best” policy for achieving the goal.

Dutch Disease in the Himalayas?

Arvind Jain's picture

Is Bhutan suffering from an acute case of Dutch Disease? Despite its status as the Shangri-La destination for A-list tourists, Bhutan’s land-locked status and nascent private sector pose enormous challenges for a country that is gradually moving to a more market-based economy. Thinking about this question is enough to transform one Bhutanese MP’s happiness to

Looking beneath the surface

Mohammad Amin's picture

Existing studies on business regulation – its determinants and effects – are largely focused on aggregate level measures. These aggregate level measures attempt to summarize many different types of regulations into a single monolithic whole. The key question then is how similar the underlying sub-components are in terms of their effects on economic activity and their determinants.

Crime, security and firms in Latin America: How do firm characteristics matter?

Mohammad Amin's picture

In response to a comment on my previous post on this topic, the table below the jump shows how the incidence and burden of crime, security and bribery (as points of comparison) vary by selected firm characteristics. (Differences that are significant at the 5% level are marked with an asterisk.)

Are rigid labor regulations driving greater computer usage?

Mohammad Amin's picture

A handful of studies that address this question have answered in the affirmative. In theoretical work, Alesina and Zeira (2006) and Blanchard and Philippon (2006) argue that rigid labor laws may encourage firms to substitute labor with computers. One implication is that we should find greater computer usage in countries or regions that have more rigid labor laws (other implications discussed below).