Roberto Ganau, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 19 August 2017

Whether organised crime undermines productivity has been studied extensively in broad terms, but not at the firm level. This column uses extensive firm-level data from across Italy to suggest that this is firmly the case, both through direct and indirect channels. The results point to a substantial negative direct effect of organised crime on firms' productivity growth. Moreover, any positive impact derived from industrial clustering and agglomeration economies is thoroughly debilitated by a strong presence of organised criminality.

Fabrizio Coricelli, Marco Frigerio, 23 February 2017

A main source of alternative financing during credit crunches is trade credit. This column argues that small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe suffered a liquidity squeeze during the Great Recession due to the increase of their net lending to large firms. This squeeze was induced by their weak bargaining power in trade credit relationships, and had significant adverse effects on their levels of investment and employment.

Philippe Jehiel, Laurent Lamy, 22 November 2016

Bid preferences and set-asides are popular discriminatory practices in US public procurement, but are prohibited in the EU. This column argues that discrimination can be cost-reducing provided it is targeted to favour those firms whose participation is more responsive to the auction procedure. Situations when set-asides may be cost-reducing are also discussed.

Masayuki Morikawa, 10 July 2016

The service sector accounts for much of the output of many advanced economies, and maximising the sector’s output while also minimising regional disparities is an important policy challenge. This column analyses productivity in service sectors in Japan, focusing on economies of urban density. The higher the employment density of the cities in which service firms are located, the higher their productivity, but firms relocating to such cities negatively impacts regional disparity. Further, considerable differences in productivity improvements among sectors indicate there certain industries should be promoted in large cities, and others in smaller cities with lower employment density.

Nobuya Fukugawa, Akira Goto, 08 July 2016

Local public technology centres (Kosetsushi) in Japan have demonstrated notable success in fostering the development of regional industries. This column reports the results of the first branch-level survey of Kosetsushi, focusing on three areas: manufacturing, foods, and design. Kosetsushi are found to help clients through diverse, tailored technical consultations and, increasingly, by acting as a network hub for the transfer of symbolic and analytical knowledge. These findings have particular relevance for regional governments attempting to foster innovation through similar institutions.


The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) is looking for original unpublished research papers related to, but not limited to, the following topics:

Empirical analysis of credit-scoring methodologies and prediction of delinquency based on available MSME credit data or alternative data (utility, telecommunication payment, large data, etc.)
Empirical analysis of optimum collateral and credit guarantee ratio in Asia
Principles of good credit information infrastructure in Asia (credit risk database, credit information registries, credit bureau, credit-rating agencies, and credit guarantee corporation)
Evaluation of credit infrastructure in selected countries in Asia
Credit reporting and the use of credit-rating data to promote MSME financing in Asia: lessons learned from successful economies
Examination of tools to promote financial access to MSMEs and start-up businesses

Alberto Galasso, Mark Schankerman, 07 January 2016

Economists take a keen interest in patent rights and their effect on innovation. The primary argument for the existence of patents is, after all, that they incentivise entrepreneurs to seek profit through innovating. This column looks at how patent rights affect innovation by small and large firms, finding that the results vary greatly depending on size. 

Giorgio Barba Navaretti, Giacomo Calzolari, Alberto Pozzolo, 18 November 2015

Small and medium-sized enterprises are supposed to be the key to growth, everywhere. These enterprises are risky, and when they are so important to the well-being of an economy, someone must bear the risk of funding them. This column argues that there is a real need for policymakers to focus on how we finance SMEs, as getting the institutions and structures right can pay dividends in the long run.

Rick Watson, 02 November 2015

Small and medium-sized European businesses find it hard to raise capital, especially during their development phase. This column compares the situation in the US and Europe and suggests that many SMEs in Europe still face significant difficulties in identifying and accessing sources of funding. Promoting greater equity involvement and improving access to and information on all of the various funding options would do much to boost growth.

Jon Danielsson, Eva Micheler, Katja Neugebauer, Andreas Uthemann, Jean-Pierre Zigrand, 23 February 2015

The proposed EU capital markets union aims to revitalise Europe’s economy by creating efficient funding channels between providers of loanable funds and firms best placed to use them. This column argues that a successful union would deliver investment, innovation, and growth, but it depends on overcoming difficult regulatory challenges. A successful union would also change the nature of systemic risk in Europe.

Tomohiko Inui, Keiko Ito, Daisuke Miyakawa, 06 January 2015

While large Japanese firms have been present internationally for years, small firms have found it difficult to overcome the information obstacles associated with entering overseas markets. This column argues that lender banks can help as they not only provide financial support but also business consulting services using their extensive knowledge obtained through lending transactions. It shows that small and medium firms whose lender banks accumulate more overseas market information are more likely to start exporting.

Kuniyoshi Saito, Daisuke Tsuruta, 14 November 2014

In Japan, loans with 100% guarantees account for more than half of all loans covered by public credit guarantee schemes, but banks claim that they do not offer loans without sufficient screening and monitoring even if the loans are guaranteed. This column presents evidence of adverse selection and moral hazard in Japanese credit guarantee schemes. The problem is less severe for loans with 80% guarantees.

Thorsten Beck, Hans Degryse, Ralph De Haas, Neeltje van Horen, 25 July 2014

The small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) were among the most severely affected in the Global Crisis. This column discusses new evidence on how different lending techniques affect lending in bad and good times. Data from 21 countries in central and eastern Europe show that ‘relationship lending’ alleviates credit constraints during a cyclical downturn but not during a boom period. The positive impact of relationship lending in an economic downturn is strongest for smaller and more opaque firms and in regions where the downturn is more severe.

Neil Kay, Gavin Murphy, Conor O'Toole, Iulia Siedschlag, Brian O'Connell, 29 June 2014

Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) often report difficulties in obtaining external finance. Based on new research, this column argues that these difficulties are not due to greater financial risks associated with SMEs. Instead, they are the result of imperfections in the market for external finance that negatively affect smaller and younger enterprises. The same research has shown that these types of firms are also the most reliant on external finance to support their investment and growth.

Rolando Avendaño, Niels Boehm, Elisa Calza, 27 January 2013

Small and medium-sized enterprises provide the vast majority of employment in developing countries and are keystones in the productive structures of emerging economies. This column argues that the growth of such firms is being hindered by scarce financing. Looking at Latin America, it is clear that public financial institutions are increasingly important in meeting credit demands. If emerging economies want to see long-term growth, there needs to be a comprehensive approach to reducing the ‘traditional’ barriers to small and medium enterprise financing.

Bernard Hoekman, Selina Jackson, 23 January 2013

The revolution in manufacturing – increasingly known as ‘global value chains‘ – has changed the world of trade policy as much as it has changed the global industrial landscape. This column discusses new research suggesting that border management and transport and telecommunications infrastructure services matter far more than trade tariffs. Improving infrastructure and management would increase global GDP far more than the complete elimination of tariffs. However, it won’t be easy. Tackling supply chain barriers will require dynamic and responsive national and international trade policymaking procedures that are more in step with industrial practices.

Thorsten Beck, Vasso Ioannidou, Larissa Schäfer, 13 July 2012

Financial aspects of the global crisis and the rolling bank scandals have led many to think again about their reliance on foreign banks. This column presents evidence that foreign banks do act differently. Among other things, they charge lower interest rates, but provide loans for shorter maturities, and are more likely to demand collateral.

Mathias Hoffmann, Iryna Stewen, 19 February 2012

Few would deny that there is a strong link between the health of a country’s banks and its public finances. With that in mind, this column argues that the banking system can learn from banking deregulation in the US, with knock on effects for Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.