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Research on Starting a Business

Doing Business considers the following list of papers as relevant for research on regulations affecting the entry of new firms. Some papers—denoted with an asterisk (*)—use Doing Business data for their empirical analysis. If we've missed any important research, please let us know.

Author(s): Gustavo Henrique de Andrade; Miriam Bruhn and David McKenzi

Journal: The World Bank Economic Review (2014): lhu008.

Abstract: Many governments have spent much of the past decade trying to extend a helping hand to informal businesses by making it easier and cheaper for them to formalize. Much less effort has been devoted to raising the costs of remaining informal, through increasing enforcement of existing regulations. This paper reports on a field experiment conducted in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in order to test which government actions work in getting informal firms to register. Firms were randomized to a control group or one of four treatment groups: the first received information about how to formalize; the second received this information and free registration costs along with the use of an accountant for a year; the third group was assigned to receive an enforcement visit from a municipal inspector; while the fourth group was assigned to have a neighboring firm receive an enforcement visit to see if enforcement has spillovers. The analysis finds zero or negative impacts of information and free cost treatments, and a significant but small increase in formalization from inspections. Estimates of the impact of actually receiving an inspection give a 21 to 27 percentage point increase in the likelihood of formalizing. The results show most informal firms will not formalize unless forced to do so, suggesting formality offers little private benefit to them. But the tax revenue benefits to the government of bringing firms of this size into the formal system more than offset the costs of inspections.

Author(s): Herrendorf, Berthold; Teixeira, Arilton

Journal: International Economic Review, Volume 52, Issue 2, Pages 573?602, May 2011

Abstract: We ask whether barriers to entry are a quantitatively important reason for the income gap between developing countries and the United States. We develop a tractable general equilibrium model that captures the effects of barriers to entry and the other main distortions typically considered in the development literature. We carry our model to the data and ask it to match the main development facts from the Penn World Table. We find that this requires large barriers to entry in developing countries, which account for about half of the income gap with the United States.

Author(s): Divanbeigi, Ramalho

Journal: World Bank Policy ResearchWorking Paper

Abstract: Over the past decade, there has been increased interest in improving business regulations, in part because of the increased availability of data that can inform and monitor those improvements. This paper analyzes whether these regulatory changes are linked to economic outcomes. With panel data for 10 years across more than 180 countries, the paper establishes the link between business regulations, firm creation, and growth. It is found that an improvement of 10 points in the overall measure of business regulations is linked to an increase of around 0.5 new businesses per 1,000 adults. Moreover, the results show that although small changes in the overall level of business regulations may have a negligible link to growth, moving from the lowest quartile of improvement in business regulations to the highest quartile is associated with a significant increase in annual per capita growth of around 0.8 percentage points. In addition, the results highlight the importance of sound entry and exit regulations and sound credit market regulations and court enforcement for growth.

Author(s): Jonathan Munemo

Journal: Review of World Economics

Abstract: This paper shows that the complementarity between foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic investment significantly depends on regulations required to start a new domestically owned business in host economies. It finds evidence that FDI crowds out domestic investment in countries with entry regulation cost above a certain level, and many of these countries are in the bottom quartile of GDP per capita. Reforms in business start-up regulations can therefore play a critical role in enhancing the complementarity between foreign and domestic investment and thereby increase entrepreneurship and economic growth in low-income countries. The analysis takes into account other significant factors which affect domestic investment such as the cost of capital, government?s economic growth track record, institutional quality, and market size.

Author(s): Klinger, Bailey; Schuendeln, Matthias

Journal: World Development, Volume 39, Issue 9, Pages 1592-1610, September 2011

Abstract: Business training is a widely used development tool, yet little is known about its impact. We study the effects of such a business training program held in Central America. To deal with endogenous selection into the training program, we use a regression discontinuity design, exploiting the fact that a fixed number of applicants are taken into the training program based on a pre-training score. Business training significantly increases the probability that an applicant to the workshop starts a business or expands an existing business. Results also suggest gender heterogeneity as well as the presence of financial constraints.

Author(s): Paunov, Caroline

Journal: Journal of Development Economics 

Abstract: This paper documents the impacts of corruption on smaller- and larger-sized firms’ adoption of quality certificates and patents. Using firm-level data for 48 developing and emerging countries, I analyze whether corruption’s impacts are stronger on firms operating in industries that use quality certificates and patents more intensively. My results show corruption reduces the likelihood that firms in these industries obtain quality certificates. Corruption affects particularly smaller firms but has no impacts on exporters or foreign- and publicly-owned firms. While corruption does not reduce patenting, it lowers machinery investments for innovation. More reliable business environments foster firms’ adoption of quality certificates.

Author(s): Pehr-Johan Norbäck, Lars Persson, Robin Douhan

Journal: Journal of Development Economics

Abstract: What explains the world-wide trend of pro-entrepreneurial policies? We study entrepreneurial policy in the form of entry costs in a lobbying model taking into account the conflict of interest between entrepreneurs and incumbents. It is shown that international market integration leads to more pro-entrepreneurial policies, since it is then (i) more difficult to protect domestic incumbents and (ii) pro-entrepreneurial policies make foreign entrepreneurs less aggressive. Using the World Bank Doing Business database, we find evidence that international openness is negatively correlated with the barriers to entry for new entrepreneurs, as predicted by the theory.

Author(s): Miriam Bruhn and David McKenzie

Journal: World Bank Research Observer 29 (2): 186?201. doi:10.1093/wbro/lku002

Abstract: The majority of microenterprises in most developing countries remain informal despite more than a decade of reforms aimed at making it easier and cheaper for them to formalize. This paper summarizes the evidence on the effects of entry reforms and related policy actions to promote firm formalization. Most of these policies result in only a modest increase in the number of formal firms, if there is any increase at all. Most informal firms appear to not benefit on net from formalizing. As a consequence, ease of formalization along will not induce most of them to become formal. Increased enforcement of rules can increase formality. Although there is a fiscal benefit of doing this with larger informal firms, it is unclear whether there is a public rationale for attempting to formalize subsistence enterprises.

Author(s): Leora Klapper, Luc Laeven and Raghuram Rajan

Journal: Journal of Financial EconomicsVolume 82, Issue 3, December 2006, Pages 591-629

Abstract: Using a comprehensive database of European firms, we study the effect of market entry regulations on the creation of new limited-liability firms, the average size of entrants, and the growth of incumbent firms. We find that costly regulations hamper the creation of new firms, especially in industries that should naturally have high entry. These regulations also force new entrants to be larger and cause incumbent firms in naturally high-entry industries to grow more slowly. Our results hold even when we correct for the availability of financing, the degree of protection of intellectual property, and labor regulations.

Author(s): Stenholm, Pekka; Acs, Zoltan J.; Wuebker, Robert

Journal: Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 28, Issue 1, Pages 176-193, January 2013

Abstract: This study introduces a novel multidimensional measure of the entrepreneurial environment that reveals how differences in institutional arrangements influence both the rate and the type of entrepreneurial activity in a country. Drawing from institutional theory, the measure examines the regulatory, normative, and cognitive dimensions of entrepreneurial activity, and introduces a novel conducive dimension that measures a country's capability to support high-impact entrepreneurship. Our findings suggest that differences in institutional arrangements are associated with variance in both the rate and type of entrepreneurial activity across countries. For the formation of innovative, high-growth new ventures, the regulative environment matters very little. For high-impact entrepreneurship an institutional environment Red with new opportunities created by knowledge spillovers and the capital necessary for high-impact entrepreneurship matter most.

Author(s): Dawson, John W.; Seater, John J.

Journal: Journal of Economic Growth, Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 137-177 , June 2013

Abstract: We introduce a new time series measure of the extent of federal regulation in the U.S. and use it to investigate the relationship between federal regulation and macroeconomic performance. We find that regulation has statistically and economically significant effects on aggregate output and the factors that produce it-total factor productivity (TFP), physical capital, and labor. Regulation has caused substantial reductions in the growth rates of both output and TFP and has had effects on the trends in capital and labor that vary over time in both sign and magnitude. Regulation also affects deviations about the trends in output and its factors of production, and the effects differ across dependent variables. Regulation changes the way output is produced by changing the mix of inputs. Changes in regulation offer a straightforward explanation for the productivity slowdown of the 1970s. Qualitatively and quantitatively, our results agree with those obtained from cross-section and panel measures of regulation using cross-country data.

Author(s): Dreher, Axel; Gassebner, Martin

Journal: Public Choice, Volume 155, Issue 3, Pages 413-432, June 2013

Abstract: This paper investigates the question of whether corruption might 'grease the wheels' of an economy. We investigate whether and to what extent the impact of regulations on entrepreneurship is dependent on corruption. We first test whether regulations robustly deter firm entry into markets. Our results show that the existence of a larger number of procedures required to start a business, as well as larger minimum capital requirements are detrimental to entrepreneurship. Second, we test whether corruption reduces the negative impact of regulations on entrepreneurship in highly regulated economies. Our empirical analysis, covering a maximum of 43 countries over the 2003-2005 period, shows that corruption facilitates firm entry in highly regulated economies. For example, the 'greasing' effect of corruption kicks in at around 50 days required to start a new business. Our results thus provide support for the 'grease the wheels' hypothesis.

Author(s): A.Kovac, Mitja; Spruk, Rok

Journal: Journal of Institutional Economics

Abstract: This paper seeks to quantify the impact of transaction costs on cross-country economic growth. Our evidence from a cross-country panel data regression analysis reveals a persistent and robust negative effect of increasing transaction costs on the path of economic growth. The growth-enhancing effects of lower transaction costs are confirmed after controlling for the set of conditioning variables and further demonstrated in a cross-country growth model calibration. The results provide evidence that transaction costs might indeed be central to the study of cross-country productivity differences, suggest the importance of contractual relations and indicate their significant impact on cross-country economic performance over time.

Author(s): Mai Thi Thanh Thai

Journal: Journal of Business Venturing

Abstract: Based on the eclectic theory of entrepreneurship, this article analyzes macro-level determinants of national rates of formal versus informal entrepreneurship. Our evaluation of the factors identified in this theory reveals a set of empirically-testable, higher-order determinants: economic opportunities, quality of governance, macro-level resources and abilities, performance-based culture and socially-supportive culture. The results of our analysis obtained through the PLS (partial least squares) approach to structural equation modeling contribute to the entrepreneurship literature by providing an empirically-supported model that shows how formal and informal entrepreneurship are driven differently. This model clarifies the conflicting findings in previous research about the effects of socioeconomic, institutional, and cultural factors on entrepreneurship rates across countries. Finally, by showing the effect of each determinant on formal and informal entrepreneurship, this study has important implications for policymakers as well as businesses.

Author(s): Fang, Lei; Rogerson, Richard

Journal: American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, Volume 3, Issue 2, Pages 163-88, April 2011

Abstract: Recent empirical work finds a negative correlation between product market regulation and aggregate employment. We examine the effect of product market regulations on hours worked in a benchmark model of time allocation. Product market regulations affect market work in effectively the same fashion as labor or consumption taxes. For product market regulations to affect aggregate market work, the key driving force is the size of income transfers associated with the regulations, and the key propagation mechanism is the labor supply elasticity. We show that industry level analysis is of little help in assessing the aggregate effects of product market regulation. 

Author(s): Pontus BraunerhjelmSameeksha DesaiJohan E. Eklund

Journal: European Journal of Law and Economics (2015): 1-11.

Abstract: Entrepreneurship can have important positive effects linked to job creation, wealth and income generation, innovation and industry competitiveness. Scholars and policy-makers around the world have turned to the regulatory environment as a mechanism through which entrepreneurship can be encouraged, grown and its economic benefits harnessed. The effect of regulatory conditions on entrepreneurship however is not well understood, and can be nuanced given the wide range of regulatory tools and possible areas of impact. This paper serves as the introduction to a special issue, which seeks to shed some light on the relationship between regulation, firm dynamics and entrepreneurship. We identify some foundational considerations relevant to this relationship and discuss key questions, followed by a brief overview of each of the papers contained in the special issue.

Author(s):  Djankov, Simeon

Journal: Journal of Economic Perspectives 

Abstract: Correspondence to the Summer 2015 issue included an article by Timothy Besley on the nature and influence of the World Bank’s Doing Business report (“Law, Regulation, and the Business Climate: The Nature and Influence of the World Bank Doing Business Project,” pp. 99–120). As the manager of the World Bank team that created Doing Business, I wish to highlight the  importance of academic research starting this project.

Author(s): LiPuma, Joseph A.; Newbert, Scott L.; Doh, Jonathan P.

Journal: Small Business Economics, Volume 40, Issue 4, Pages 817-841 , May 2013

Abstract: It is widely accepted that countries with sound formal and informal institutions create more robust environments for firm performance. However, due to the liabilities faced by firms without available slack and/or market power, we contend that institutions are especially important for new and small firms. Unfortunately, there is little research examining the potential moderating effect of firm size or age on the relationship between institutional quality and export performance. In response, we hypothesize that institutional quality will be more important to increasing the export performance of new and small firms compared with their large, established counterparts. We test our hypotheses using data from the World Bank's World Business Environment Survey. The results of our analyses offer support for our model, although some institutional variables appear to be more important to export performance than others. We conclude by discussing the implications of our results.

Author(s): Prantl, Susanne

Journal: Small Business Economics, Volume 39, Issue 1, Pages 61-76, July 2012

Abstract: What is the impact of firm entry regulation on sustained entry into self-employment? How does firm entry regulation influence the performance of long-living entrants? In this paper, I address these questions, exploiting a natural experiment in firm entry regulation. After German reunification, East and West Germany faced different economic conditions, but fell under the same law that imposes a substantial mandatory standard on entrepreneurs who want to start a legally independent firm in one of the regulated occupations. The empirical results suggest that the entry regulation suppresses long-living entrants, not only entrants in general or transient, short-lived entrants. This effect on the number of long-living entrants is not accompanied by a counteracting effect on the performance of long-living entrants, as measured by firm size several years after entry.

Author(s): Djankov Simeon

Journal: World Bank Research Observer, Volume 24, Issue 2, Pages 183-203, August 2009

Abstract: Simplifying entry regulation has been a popular reform since the publication of Djankov and others (2002). The inclusion of business entry indicators in the World Bank's Doing Business project has led to an acceleration in reform: in 2003-08, 193 reforms took place in 116 countries. A large academic literature has followed: 201 academic articles have used the data compiled by Djankov and others (2002) and subsequently by the World Bank. The author identifies three theories as to why some countries impose burdensome entry requirements. He also surveys the literature on the effects of making business entry easier.

Author(s): Farzana Chowdhury, Siri Terjesen, David Audretsch

Journal: European Journal of Law and Economics (2015) 40:121-148

Abstract: This paper adapts the approach introduced in the literature on disparate varieties of capitalism by proposing that different varieties of entrepreneurship exist. We make the case for the existence of disparate varieties of entrepreneurship by exploring and analyzing three distinct varieties of entrepreneurship that are prevalent but typically analyzed separately in the entrepreneurship literature: new firm start-up, self-employment, and early stage entrepreneurial activity. Using 5 years of data from 44 countries, we highlight the variation in both the conceptualization and the measurement of entrepreneurship across time and geographic context. Our results suggest that institutional factors influence the disparate varieties of entrepreneurship differently: property rights, freedom from corruption, and fewer start-up procedures are significantly positively related to nascent/new firm ownership. Property rights protection is significantly positively related to new firm startup; tax and regulatory burden have significant positive impacts on self-employment but significantly negatively related to new firm start-up. Our findings suggest that the disparate varieties of entrepreneurship are not at all substitutes and are related in very different ways to institutional factors.