Weicheng Lian, Fei Liu, Katsiaryna Svirydzenka, and Biying Zhu
While South Asia has gone a long way in diversifying their economies, there is substantial scope to do more. Some countries – India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – can build on their existing production capabilities; others – Bangladesh, Bhutan, and the Maldives – would need to undertake a more concerted push. We identify key policies from a large set of potential determinants that explain the variation in export diversification and complexity across 189 countries from 1962 to 2018. Our analysis suggests that South Asia needs to invest in infrastructure, education, and R&D, facilitate bank credit to productive companies, and open to trade in order to diversify and move up the value chains. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in digital technologies as part of the infrastructure push and improving education are of even greater importance to facilitate the ability to work remotely and assist resource reallocation away from the less viable sectors.
On January 16, 2020, the Executive Board adopted a Report to the Board of Governors proposing that the Board of Governors adopt a Resolution concluding the Fifteenth General Review of Quotas with no increase in quotas and providing guidance for the Sixteenth General Review of Quotas in line with the IMFC guidance in the October 19, 2019 Communiqué. The Resolution was adopted by the Board of Governors, effective February 7, 2020, and was designated No. 75-1.
The use of e-commerce around the world has accelerated in recent years, with Asia, led by China, spearheading the rise. Using cross-country enterprise survey data, this paper shows that firms engaged in e-commerce have higher productivity and generate a larger share of their revenues from exports than other firms. This is particularly true in Asia, where firms have 30 percent higher productivity and generate about 50 percent more of their revenues from exports. The results presented in this paper are robust to the use of instrumental variables, which highlight possible larger effects of e-commerce on Asian productivity and exports when essential elements are in place for its effective use, such as reliable electricity, telecommunication, and transport infrastructure. Despite the rapid growth of e-commerce in recent years, gaps persist in digital infrastructure and legislation, preventing many Asian countries from fully reaping the potential benefits of e-commerce.
Export structure is less diversified in low-income countries (LICs) and especially small states that face resource constraints and small economic size. This paper explores the potential linkages between export structure and economic growth and its volatility in LICs and small states, using a range of indices of export concentration differing in the coverage of industries. The empirical analysis finds that export diversification may promote economic growth and reduce economic volatility in these countries. Furthermore, the analysis demonstrates that the economic benefits of export diversification differ by country size and income level—there are bigger benefits for relatively larger and poorer countries within the group of LICs and small states.
After a decade of rapid growth, industrialization has lost ground with shrinking manufacturing sector and high informality in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This paper explores how land market and labor regulations affect factor allocative efficiency and firm performance in SSA. Using pooled data on firm balance sheets for 40 countries in SSA, the results identify significant land and labor misallocations due to limited market allocation of land and inappropriate regulatory policies. Using variations in ethnic diversity and the intensity of regulatory actions to peer firms at subnational level as instrumental variables, local average treatment effects show large productivity gains from factor reallocations, especially for marginally productive firms. Panel data results for Nigerian firms confirm factor market inefficiency as a principal driver of declining productivity, while showing that the 2011 minimum wage reform increased firm size. The results imply that improving formal regulation is critical to support firm growth at the stage of weak legal capacity, while informal sector monitoring gets effective as legal capacity develops.