In this note we document how constraints in the business environment, as perceived by individual firms, differ both across countries and within each country, across firms. This finding is of key importance given recent theoretical models that suggest idiosyncratic distortions can have large aggregate effects. Not only do such distortions affect the behaviour of incumbent firms, but they also impinge on the selection of firms that enter the market or leave it. Empirical research should attempt to link idiosyncratic components of the business climate to firm selection and to distortions in the allocation of factors inputs across firms and, through these channels, to aggregate economic performance. © 2010 Published by Elsevier B.V.