business environment, competitiveness, exports, firm ownership, firm performance, Global/Multiregional, Institutional reforms, institutions, productivity, CASE Reports, CASE Network Studies and Analyses, subjective data

Do Institutions, Ownership, Exporting and Competition Explain Firm Performance? Evidence from 26 Transition Countries


The authors analyze a large stratified random sample of firms that provided them with measures of performance and each firm’s top manager’s perception of the severity of business environment constraints faced by his/her firm. Unlike most existing studies that rely on external and aggregated proxy measures of the business environment, defined to include legal and institutional features, the authors have information from each surveyed firm.

The authors find that foreign ownership and competition have an impact on performance – measured as the level of sales controlling for inputs. Export orientation of the firm does not have an effect on performance once ownership is taken into account. When analyzing the impact of perceived constraints, they show that few retain explanatory power once they are introduced jointly rather than one at a time, or when country, industry and year fixed effects are introduced. Indeed, country fixed effects largely absorb the explanatory power of the constraints faced by individual firms. Replicating the analysis with commonly used country-level indicators of the business environment, they do not find much of a relationship between constraints and performance.