Local governance quality and law compliance
The case of Mozambican firms
In sub-Saharan Africa, many micro and small enterprises do not (or at least only partially) comply with official rules and regulations. Given that low compliance rates impede economic growth and human development, it is essential to identify mechanisms that can help improve abidance with laws.
This study investigates how the quality of governance (defined as comprising three dimensions: transparency, legal security and infrastructure quality) is related to firm-level compliance with business laws and regulations in the case of Mozambique. We utilise firms’ subjective perceptions of governance quality and their self-reported law compliance over time to study the governance–compliance nexus, taking into account unobserved firm-level heterogeneity.
Furthermore, we examine whether political legitimacy acts as a mediator or a moderator between governance and compliance. Our results suggest that perceived improvements in transparency positively affect firms’ compliance with existing legislation. Requests from provincial government officials for firms to comment on local regulations seem to be especially important for law abidance.
We find that legitimacy is independently associated with compliance, but does not seem to mediate or moderate the quality of governance. Overall, our results suggest that, even in one of the least developed and non-democratic parts of the world, active participation in political processes is positively associated with law compliance.