Entrepreneurship - the key to prosperity ctd.

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World Bank data show a strong correlation between measures of entrepreneurship and income. But how does this relationship come about, and what drives what? Abhijit Banerjee, of Poverty Action Lab fame, gives his take:

It turns out that the businesses of the poor are also poor businesses: The typical business has zero paid employees and no machines in almost every country where we have data and where we have the information to be able to calculate this, what the household earns from the business is less than what they would earn on the lowest end of the labor market. They are in effect buying a job and not [a] particularly good job at that...

...The problem is that for a business to rise beyond its many competitors—the thousands of fruit vendors in Chennai---it has to have something special about it: The product (P) must be different or the quality (Q) must be especially high, or the firm must have special reputation for reliability (R) or the scale of operations (S) must be large enough to generate significant cost savings. And each of these requires a combination of special skills and substantial amounts of money, both beyond the reach of all but a few poor or even not so poor business owners.

It is these PQRS businesses that generate the good jobs that other aspire to, and the earnings that come out of them lead to other businesses and so on. This, to a first approximation, is my vision of the process of how growth happens. It is what China has managed to do very successfully and Africa will have to find a way of doing.


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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