The Impact of Business Environment Reforms on Poverty, Gender and Inclusion

1st April 2021
Author: Keir MacDonald

This rapid review synthesises the literature from academic, policy, and knowledge institution sources on how business environment reforms in middle-income countries impacts on poverty, gender and inclusion. Although, there is limited evidence on the direct impact of business environment reforms on poverty, gender, and inclusion, this review illustrates that there is evidence of indirect effects of such reforms. Business environment reform (BER) targets inadequate business regulations and institutions, in order to remove constraints to business investment and expansion, enabling growth and job creation, as well as new opportunities for international business to contribute to and benefit from this growth. However, there is a lack of detailed knowledge of the impact of BER on gender and inclusion (G&I) outcomes, in terms of the potential to remove institutional barriers which exclude formerly marginalised groups from business opportunities, in ways that promote equal access to resources, opportunities, benefits, and services. The literature shows how the business environment affects women in business, and how women’s experiences of a given business environment can be different from those of men. This is the result of disparities in how they are treated under the law, but also based on structural and sociocultural factors which influence how men and women behave in a given business environment and the barriers they face.

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Suggested Citation

Macdonald, K. (2021). The impact of business environment reforms on poverty, gender and inclusion. K4D Helpdesk Report No.898. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies. DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2021.006


1st April 2021


Continent: Global