A recent survey of unregistered or informal firms in Argentina and Peru shows that about 74 percent of the owners have at least secondary or higher education. This note compares firms by the education level of the owners to assess how education affects the structure, conduct and performance of informal firms. The results show a limited impact of education. Firm-efficiency as measured by sales per worker rises sharply with the level of education of the owner and the same holds for firm-size as measured by monthly sales or employment.
Firms with relatively more educated owners are more likely to use external sources of finance, cell phones and in some cases show greater inclination to register, work on contract basis and maintain business accounts separate from household accounts. However, in other dimensions—such as the use of machinery and vehicles—there is no significant difference between firms by the education level of the owner of the firm.