با کمی کمک از طرف دوستان: تأثیر کمک USAID بر رشد شرکت های کوچک و متوسط در یک اقتصاد گذار
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|18684||2011||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Comparative Economics, Volume 39, Issue 2, June 2011, Pages 205–220
Using survey data on Macedonian firms that participated in USAID programs providing technical and financial assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and on firms that did not, we estimate the effectiveness of such assistance in increasing the growth of employment in the assisted firms. We control for selection bias in program participation and use both kernel and caliper propensity score matching to estimate the excess growth of employment in assisted firms. We find that assistance programs raised employment growth by 16–20 percentage points in the first year after assistance and by 26–30 points by the third year.
One of the more troubling aspects of the economic transition in Eastern Europe has been that the growth of aggregate output since the early to mid-1990s has been accompanied by stagnant or declining employment, particularly in South East Europe. This has resulted in gains in wages, clearly a desirable result, but in some countries it has also resulted in high levels of unemployment or underemployment, creating a phenomenon that some observers have called “jobless growth”.1 The lack of job growth, particularly in the SEE countries has contributed to a variety of social and political problems, and dealing with them has been a serious policy concern, both in the countries of the region and among foreign assistance donors. One of, if not the, worst performing transition countries in terms of unemployment has been the Republic of Macedonia, whose registered unemployment rate over the past 20 year period peaked above 40% and remains in the low- to mid-30 percent rate to this day.2Lehmann (2010) describes Macedonia as “one of the worst performing economies in Europe, both in terms of unemployment and employment rates” in large part due to the fact that it “shows very little capacity of job creation” (p. 6). Given Macedonia’s poor labor market performance, foreign aid donors have focused much of their assistance to the country on job creation programs. Moreover, given the lack of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at the start of transition and the widely-held perception that SMEs have the potential to create jobs rapidly and in large numbers, much of that assistance has been directed at SMEs. In this paper we examine the effectiveness of a set of programs developed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide mainly technical assistance, but also financial assistance, to Macedonian firms in order to improve their performance and particularly to increase the number of jobs that they provide. The technical assistance programs provided business and technical knowledge and skills to Macedonian entrepreneurs through training, seminars, demonstrations and consulting. We employ survey data collected from Macedonian firms that had participated in USAID program as well as from firms that had not, and we estimate the effects of USAID assistance on job creation in recipient firms using matching techniques that compare their performance to a sample of firms that did not receive assistance. We find that USAID assistance had a positive and significant effect, in both the statistical and in the economic senses, on full-time and total employment in Macedonian firms that participated in USAID programs. In the next section of the paper we selectively review the literature on the effectiveness of technical and financial assistance to firms in market economies as well as the more limited literature on the effectiveness of assistance to firms in transition economies. Section 3 describes the data used in this study as well as the surveys used to obtain the data. Section 4 explains the matching techniques we use to estimate the effectiveness of USAID programs in Macedonia, and Section 5 presents the results of our estimates of job creation due to the assistance that firms received, compares them with other relevant studies and draws out the policy implications. Section 6 concludes and suggests avenues for further research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
One key lesson from these results is that USAID-assisted firms increase both full-time and part-time employment at a much faster rate than do firms that did not receive assistance. Also the assistance has a lasting impact on employment growth. Thus we conclude that USAID provision of assistance to Macedonian firms had a significant effect on their ability to expand employment. The effectiveness of technical assistance is particularly important from a policy perspective in that some types of technical assistance programs, such as seminars that provide managerial skills and technical updates to attendees, could be expanded at relatively low marginal costs. Our ability to extend our results is limited by the nature of the data available to us, but we note some areas where additional research is warranted. Although many studies evaluate assistance programs on the basis of employment or sales growth as well as of survival rates, the integration of survival rate effects with job growth effects would be an important next step for two reasons. The first is that many SMEs fail soon after startup, and thus assistance that helps firms survive may have employment effects that are as important as the increase in employment in firms that receive assistance and survive. Several studies cited in Section 2 do measure the effect of assistance on firm survival, but with contradictory results.27 A second area that deserves further research is that of crowding-out effects. While researchers find positive effects of assistance on the performance of individual firms, such effects tend to be smaller or to disappear entirely at the sectoral or aggregate level. This may be evidence that the firms that receive assistance prosper at the expense of other firms in their sector. As a result, the net employment effect seen at the firm level is not replicated at the aggregate level because firm growth within a sector is something of a zero-sum game where gains in productivity, sales and employment in assisted firms come at the expense of unassisted competitors. A final issue that is neglected in this paper and in a number of other studies of the effectiveness of assistance programs is that of the costs and benefits of such assistance. Generally, programs that show a positive effect on employment or on other performance indicators in treated firms are deemed successful regardless of the costs of delivering this assistance. This is partly due to the difficulty of measuring, or obtaining data on, the administrative and direct costs of assistance programs as well as of valuing the gains in employment or growth in treated firms in monetary terms. Some studies that do undertake such cost benefit analysis, such as Hart and Gudgin (1999) or Gabe and Kraybill (2002), find that creating jobs through assistance to SMEs is a costly process. On the other hand, Wren and Storey (2002) find the technical assistance programs they examine in the UK to have “remarkably strong impacts, which indicate that the scheme was highly cost-effective.” Thus, refining the success criteria for assistance programs to firms in transition economies to go beyond estimates of higher job growth and higher survival rates to include cost benefit analysis more explicitly is also an important next step.