Administrative Barriers to Foreign Investment in Developing Countries

Recent international experience has shown that excessively complex administrative procedures required to establish and operate a business discourage inflows of foreign direct investment. Morisset and Lumenga Neso present a new database on the administrative costs faced by private investors in 32 dev...

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Main Author: Morisset, Jacques
Other Authors: Neso, Lumenga Olivier
Format: eBook
Language:English
Published: Washington, D.C The World Bank 2002, 2002
Subjects:
Online Access:
Collection: World Bank E-Library Archive - Collection details see MPG.ReNa
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653 |a Consumer 
653 |a Consumer Markets 
653 |a Contribution 
653 |a Country Strategy and Periodical 
653 |a Debt Markets 
653 |a Direct Investment 
653 |a E-Business 
653 |a Economic Theory and Research 
653 |a Emerging Markets 
653 |a Finance and Financial Sector Development 
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520 |a Recent international experience has shown that excessively complex administrative procedures required to establish and operate a business discourage inflows of foreign direct investment. Morisset and Lumenga Neso present a new database on the administrative costs faced by private investors in 32 developing countries. The database is much more comprehensive than the existing sources, as it contains not only information on general entry procedures, such as business and tax registration, but also captures regulation on land access, site development, import procedures, and inspections. The data include measures on the number of procedures, direct monetary costs, and time. The cost of administrative procedures vary significantly across countries. The most important barriers appear to be the delays associated with securing land access and obtaining building permits, which in several countries take more than two years. Countries that impose excessive administrative costs on entry tend to be equally intrusive in firm operations, thereby weakening the argument that barriers to entry are a substitute for the government's unwillingness or inability to regulate enterprise operations. The level of administrative costs is positively correlated with corruption incidence and exhibits a negative correlation with the quality of governance, degree of openness, and public wages. These correlations suggest that administrative reforms need to be incorporated into the broader agenda for reforms such as trade and financial liberalization, the fight against corruption, and public sector administration. This paper—a product of the Foreign Investment Advisory Service—is part of a larger effort to study the role of administrative barriers in the investment decision of private firms. The authors may be contacted at jmorisset@ifc.org or lumenganeso@hec.unige.ch