Balance sheets and income statements from nearly 8000 manufacturing companies in
44 countries are compared for 1994–2000 along several dimensions. Differences
across sectors and countries are reported and interpreted. The findings are: first,
we find that the size distribution of firms for much of the size range is broadly
similar in the two groups of countries, except for the largest and the smallest sizes
of firms for which there are observed differences in the expected direction. Second,
emerging market firms currently have lower levels of leverage than do their developed
market counterparts and leverage has declined in recent years. Third, emerging market
firms employ a higher level of fixed assets than do their developed market counterparts.
Fourth, returns on assets and equity generally are lower in emerging market countries,
but they have increased in recent years. And fifth, country effects account for more
of the variation in all variables than do either sector or size effects but individual
firm effects account for most of the variation.