Investment Climate and Employment Growth: The Impact of Access to Finance, Corruption and Regulations across Firms

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Oct 2007
Using firm level data on 70,000 enterprises in 107 countries, this paper finds important effects of access to finance, business regulations, corruption, and to a lesser extent, infrastructure bottlenecks in explaining patterns of job creation at the firm level. The paper focuses on how the impact of the investment climate varies across sizes of firms. The results suggest strong composition effects: A weak business environment shifts downward the size distribution of firms. In the case of finance and business regulations this occurs by reducing the employment growth of all firms, particularly micro and small firms. On the other hand, corruption and poor access to infrastructure reduce employment growth by affecting the growth of medium size and large firms. With significant differences between firms with less than 10 employees and SMEs, these results indicate significant reforms are needed to spur micro firms to grow into the ranks of the SMEs.