The Relative Importance of Regional Institutions and External Finance for Small Business Investment: Evidence from Vietnam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examines the relative importance of local institutions and external finance on small business investment. Utilising the institutional theory, we argue that local institutions and external finance have heterogeneous effects on firm investment. More importantly, they may interact and moderate each other. Analysing a set of 1.3 million observations of small businesses operating in Vietnam (2006-2016) obtained from the Annual Enterprise Survey data from the Vietnam Statistics Office, we find that local institutional settings and external finance are important determinants of firm investment. Moreover, local institutions are able to moderate the effects of external finance on firm investment. As such, this study asserts that conventional models cannot discern whether institutions or external finance are more important to firm investment. Rather, the relative importance of institutions and external finance should be investigated from the perspective of their interaction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Institutional Economics
Early online date6 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2020


Bibliographical note

The final publication is available via Cambridge Journals Online at:


  • Local government
  • Vietnam
  • informal loans
  • institutional settings
  • investment

Cite this