China’s growth potential has become a hotly debated topic as the economy has reached an income level susceptible to the “middle-income trap” and financial vulnerabilities are mounting after years of rapid credit expansion. However, the existing literature has largely focused on macro level aggregates, which are ill suited to understanding China’s significant structural transformation and its impact on economic growth. To fill the gap, this paper takes a deep dive into China’s convergence progress in 38 industrial sectors and 11 services sectors, examines past sectoral transitions, and predicts future shifts. We find that China’s productivity convergence remains at an early stage, with the industrial sector more advanced than services. Large variations exist among subsectors, with high-tech industrial sectors, in particular the ICT sector, lagging low-tech sectors. Going forward, ample room remains for further convergence, but the shrinking distance to the frontier, the structural shift from industry to services, and demographic changes will put sustained downward pressure on growth, which could slow to 5 percent by 2025 and 4 percent by 2030. Digitalization, SOE reform, and services sector opening up could be three major forces boosting future growth, while the risks of a financial crisis and a reversal in global integration in trade and technology could slow the pace of convergence.
The global financial crisis was a stark reminder of the importance of cross-country linkages in the global economy. We document growth synchronization across a diverse group of 185 countries covering 7 regions, and pay particular attention to the period around the global financial crisis. A dynamic factor model is used to decompose each country’s growth into contributions from global, regional, and idiosyncratic shocks. We find a high degree of global synchronization over 1990 to 2011, particularly across advanced economies. Examining the period around the global financial crisis, we find global shocks had large and widespread effects on growth, with more diversity in growth experiences in the early part of the recovery. In a recursive experiment, we find rising global growth synchronization just prior to the crisis, largely resulting from a shift in the importance of global shocks between countries. In contrast, the crisis period caused a much more widespread increase in growth synchronization, and was followed by a similarly pervasive decrease in synchronization in the early recovery.
The Q&A in this issue features seven questions about Large Fiscal Consolidation Attempts in the Past and Implications for Policymakers Today (by Fuad Hasanov and Paolo Mauro). The research summaries are "Booms and Busts" (by Roberto Piazza) and " Did Export Diversification Soften the Impact of the Global Financial Crisis?" (by Rafael Romeu). The issue also provides details on visiting scholars at the IMF (mainly from September through December 2011), as well as recently published IMF Working Papers and Staff Discussion Notes.
Using symmetric data sets of 92 weekly return observations before and after the introduction of the euro, the paper analyzes the impact of the new currency on the return structure of equity markets in the European Monetary Union. Variance decompositions, cluster analyses, and principle component analyses are used to explore the changes in the structural relations. European industry factors are found to have dramatically increased in importance with the launch of the single currency, and a new 'country-size' factor in European stock returns is detected. Furthermore, inner-European correlations are documented to have been reduced sharply with the start of the monetary union.
This paper develops an aggregation procedure using time-varying weights for constructing the common component of international economic fluctuations. The methodology for deriving time-varying weights is based on some stylized features of the data documented in the paper. The model allows for a unified treatment of cyclical and seasonal fluctuations and also captures the dynamic propagation of shocks across countries. Correlations of individual country fluctuations with the common component provide evidence of a “world business cycle” and a distinct European common component. The results suggest that macroeconomic fluctuations have become more closely linked across industrial economies in the post–Bretton Woods period.
This paper examines the impact of international trade on industrialization in developing agricultural economies. The findings show that developing agricultural economies that increased their openness during 1970-95 experienced an increase in their share of industrial production at the expense of agricultural production. This is in contrast to what many policymakers in these economies have often argued when trying to promote industrialization by restricting trade. The paper presents an infant industry model with learning effects from imports of manufacturing products that is consistent with the supporting empirical results.
Norman Loayza, J. Humberto Lopez, and Mr. Angel J. Ubide
This paper analyzes common economic patterns across countries and economic sectors in Latin America, East Asia and Europe for the period 1970–94 by means of an error-components model that decomposes real value added growth in each country into common international effects, sector-specific effects and country-specific effects. We find significant comovements in the European and East Asian samples. In the Latin American sample, however, we find country-specific components to be more important than common patterns. These results are robust to different sub-sample time spans and different sub-sample country groups.
We examine industrial output in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Romania during 1989–95 in terms of pretransitional product trade orientation. The growth of EU-oriented output within sectors of industry, ex-post trade, and market liberalization, is modeled as foreign direct investment induced Schumpeterian (vertical) waves of product innovation. The growth of non-EU-oriented output within sectors is modeled as unobservable deterministic heterogeneity. The results indicate that the gap observed in industrial output performance when comparing Eastern European to former Soviet countries is mainly explained by the inherited presence of EU-oriented production and its unconstrained growth over the transition period.
We develop a model to analyze the implications of firing costs on incentives for R & D and international specialization. The key idea is that, to avoid paying firing costs, the country with a rigid labor market will tend to produce relatively secure goods, at a late stage of their product life cycle. Under international trade, an international product cycle emerges where, roughly, new goods are first produced in the low firing cost country and then move to the high firing cost country. We show that in the closed economy, an increase in firing costs does not necessarily imply a reduction in R & D; it crucially depends on the riskiness of R & D activity relative to production activity. In the open economy, however, an increase in firing cost is much more likely to reduce R & D intensity.
Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Mr. Eduardo Borensztein, and Mr. Dimitri G Demekas
This paper analyzes the declines in economic activity experienced by Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (CSFR), and Romania in the period since the initiation of market-oriented reforms in these countries. The paper reviews developments in the three countries and empirically investigates two questions that are key to the interpretation of the output decline: First, to what extent does the output fall reflect “structural change” (or a reallocation of resources across sectors) rather than a conventional recession? Second, to what extent have demand-side or supply-side forces been dominant in generating the output decline?