Local institutions in Peru and the presence and number of fast-food outlets
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Purpose: The paper aims to study the role of local institutions in the establishment of fast-food outlets in urban districts of Peru. In most urban districts, there are no fast-food outlets. The authors, therefore, study the effect of institutional quality on the presence or absence of these outlets and the number of outlets if these are present. Design/methodology/approach: The theoretical framework in which this paper is based on is the theory of agglomeration, which establishes that firms benefit from being close to each other. In particular, the paper builds on a model of market entry and competition in geographically independent local markets. An explicit expression was found for the equilibrium number of outlets (including zero) as a function of exogenous determinants of the demand for fast-food in each market, available infrastructure and institutional quality of the district’s government. Principal component analysis was used to construct measures of institutional quality based on administrative and organizational characteristics of district’s municipalities. These measures were incorporated as explanatory variables in a zero-inflated Poisson model, which is appropriate to handle count data and to accommodate excess zeros and which also allows the specification of different models for the zero part and the positive part. Findings: Institutional quality mainly affects the presence of fast-food outlets in a district. The quality of urban development management and use of information systems are relevant. An institutional variable particularly relevant in explaining the number of outlets is the presence of an investment programming office in the municipality. The authors confirm the general hypothesis of the paper: institutions have a role in explaining both the presence and number of fast-food outlets in a district. Overall, the results of this paper suggest that institutional quality of a municipal district is related to better infrastructure, which lowers the costs of establishing outlets. Research limitations/implications: Limitations in the availability of data at the regional and urban district level did not allow the authors to analyze other factors that affect entry decisions in the fast-food industry in Peru, such as controls to prevent corruption, legal uncertainty or crime. Another limitation was the lack of data on entry costs for each franchisee in each urban district. This forced the authors to use public infrastructure characteristics of the district as (imperfect) proxies of the entry costs. Practical implications: The instruments of urban development management and information systems can be effective at attracting investment to a district. These tools operate partly through an indirect effect, namely, the improvement of district infrastructure, which is necessary to reduce the costs of establishing companies. There is also synergy between national government’s programs to attract investment and the good institutional quality in local governments. On the contrary, poor local institutions can be an obstacle to the successful implementation of those national programs. Social implications: Foreign direct investment has a positive impact on the economic development of a country through knowledge spillovers. Therefore, any administrative reform to make local government practices more efficient can have an indirect impact on development. Originality/value: Principal component analysis is a statistical tool that can be important in building good measures of institutional quality by allowing the combination of different observable characteristics into one component that can be interpreted as an operational restriction. The count model allows the use of the primary, easily observable, dependent variable, namely, the number of outlets. Finally, the two-part model makes it possible to discern the effect of institutional quality on the presence or absence of outlets and the number of outlets if these are present. © 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited.