Services Inputs and Firm Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Firm-Level Data
Posted: 4 Aug 2008
Date Written: August 2008
This paper investigates the relationship between the productivity of African manufacturing firms and their access to services inputs. We use data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey for over 1,000 firms in ten Sub-Saharan African countries to calculate the total factor productivity of firms. The Enterprise Surveys also contain unique measures of firms' access to communications, electricity and financial services. The availability of these measures at the firm level, both as subjective and objective indicators, allows us to exploit the variation in services performance at the sub-national regional level. Furthermore, by using the regional variation in services performance, we are also able to address concerns about the possible endogeneity of the services variables. Our results show a significant and positive relationship between firm productivity and service performance in all three services sectors analysed. The paper thus provides support for the argument that improvements in services industries contribute to enhancing the performance of downstream economic activities, and thus are an essential element of a strategy for promoting growth and reducing poverty.
Keywords: L8, F2, D24
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