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Business regulation, rule of law and formal entrepreneurship: evidence from developing countries

Aldo Salinas (ESAI Business School, Universidad de Especialidades Espiritu Santo, Guayas, Ecuador)
Cristian Ortiz (Department of Economics, Universidad Católica del Norte, Antofagasta, Chile) (Department of Economics, Universidad Nacional de Loja, Loja, Ecuador)
Moreno Muffatto (Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Padua, Padova, Italy)

Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

ISSN: 2045-2101

Article publication date: 2 September 2019

Issue publication date: 11 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of formal rules such as business regulation and rule of law on the level of formal entrepreneurship in Latin America countries over time.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use the panel regression techniques to examine the influence of business regulation and rule of law on formal entrepreneurship. In particular, they implement together two alternative views of formal entrepreneurship suggested in the literature: the “dual” and “legalistic” view. At the empirical level, the “dual” definition corresponds to the business owners’ rate. As for the “legal” definition, it corresponds to the business registration rate. The evidence presented is based on two panels. The first panel covers the period 2004–2015, and the data set contains 180 observations in 18 countries. The second panel covers the period 2006–2015, and the data set contains 134 observations in 14 countries.

Findings

The impact of institutional variables on formal entrepreneurship depends on the definition employed: “dual” or “legal.” Thus, the results suggest that business owners’ rate is more substantial in Latin American countries that have weak property rights. Conversely, from a legal definition, the business registration rate is more significant in Latin American countries that have most secure property rights and fewer labor regulations. These contradictory results suggest that the legal definition of formal entrepreneurship, but not the dual definition, seems to be associated with the type of entrepreneurial activity that promotes economic growth and development.

Research limitations/implications

The results support the importance of conducting analyzes that take into account the different types of entrepreneurial activities that are present in an economy, and in addition the relevance of understanding what each measure is capturing of the heterogeneous phenomenon of entrepreneurship.

Practical implications

The results suggest that the entrepreneurship policy should focus on the quality of entrepreneurship, rather than merely seeking to increase the number of new businesses. Additionally, the results suggest that the legalistic definition of formal entrepreneurship is probably the most relevant for many policy issues.

Originality/value

The paper analyzes together two alternative views of formal entrepreneurship suggested in the literature: the “dual” and “legalistic” views. Also, the paper has used the Latinobarómetro data set, which has not been extensively used by scholars in the field of entrepreneurship and which could be useful for longitudinal research on entrepreneurial activity in Latin American countries.

Keywords

Citation

Salinas, A., Ortiz, C. and Muffatto, M. (2019), "Business regulation, rule of law and formal entrepreneurship: evidence from developing countries", Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 254-271. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEPP-03-2019-0019

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited