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Romina Kazandjian, Ms. Lisa L Kolovich, Ms. Kalpana Kochhar, and Ms. Monique Newiak
We show that gender inequality decreases the variety of goods countries produce and export, in particular in low-income and developing countries. We argue that this happens through at least two channels: first, gender gaps in opportunity, such as lower educational enrollment rates for girls than for boys, harm diversification by constraining the potential pool of human capital available in an economy. Second, gender gaps in the labor market impede the development of new ideas by decreasing the efficiency of the labor force. Our empirical estimates support these hypotheses, providing evidence that gender-friendly policies could help countries diversify their economies.
Aidar Abdychev, La-Bhus Fah Jirasavetakul, Mr. Andrew W Jonelis, Mr. Lamin Y Leigh, Ashwin Moheeput, Friska Parulian, Ara Stepanyan, and Albert Touna Mama
Many small middle-income countries (SMICs) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have experienced a moderation in growth in recent years. Although factor accumulation, most notably capital deepening, was crucial to the success of many SMICs historically, this growth model appears to have run its course. The analysis in this paper suggests that the decline in the contribution of total factor productivity (TFP) to growth is largely responsible for the slowdown in trend growth in many SMICs, which highlights the need for policy actions to reinvigorate productivity growth. This paper explores the question of what kind of structural policies could boost productivity growth in SMICs and the political economy factors that may be contributing to the slow implementation of these critical reforms in these countries. The findings suggest that although macroeconomic stability and trade openness are necessary for productivity growth, they are not sufficient. SMICs need to improve the quality of their public spending, most notably in education to minimize the skill mismatch in the labor market, reduce the regulatory burden on firms, improve access to finance by small and medium-sized enterprises and create the enabling environment to facilitate structural transformation in these economies.