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Russian volatility : obstacle to firm survival and diversification, Volume 1
Author:Gonzalez, Alvaro S.; Iacovone, Leonardo; Subhash, Hari; Country:Russian Federation;
Date Stored:2013/09/17Document Date:2013/09/01
Document Type:Policy Research Working PaperSubTopics:Achieving Shared Growth; Economic Theory & Research; Markets and Market Access; Economic Conditions and Volatility; Microfinance
Language:EnglishRegion:Europe and Central Asia
Report Number:WPS6605Collection Title:Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 6605
Volume No:1  

Summary: The need for economic diversification receives a great deal of attention in Russia. This paper looks at a way to improve it that is essential but largely ignored: how to help diversifying firms better survive economic cycles. By definition, economic diversification means doing new things in new sectors and/or in new markets. The fate of emerging firms, therefore, should be of great concern to policy makers. This paper indicates that the ups and downs -- the volatility -- of Russian economic growth are key to that fate. Volatility of growth is higher in Russia than in comparable economies because its slumps are both longer and deeper. They go beyond the cleansing effects of eliminating the least efficient firms; relatively efficient ones get swept away as well. In fact, an incumbency advantage improves a firm's chances of weathering the ups and downs of the economy, regardless of a firm's relative efficiency. Finally, firms in sectors where competition is less intense are less likely to exit the market, regardless of their relative efficiency. Two policy conclusions emerge from these findings -- one macroeconomic and one microeconomic. First, the importance of countercyclical policies is heightened to include efficiency elements. Second, strengthening competition and other factors that support the survival of new, emerging and efficient firms will promote economic diversification. Efforts to help small and medium enterprises may be better spent on removing the obstacles that young, infant firms face as they attempt to enter, survive and grow.

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