The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift toward digital services. Meanwhile, the race for technological and economic leadership has heated up, with risks of decoupling that could set back trade and growth and hinder the recovery from the worst global recession since the Great Depression. This paper studies the conditions under which a country may seek to erect barriers—banning imports or exports of cyber technologies—and in effect promote decoupling or deglobalization. A well-known result is that banning imports may be optimal in monopolistic sectors, such as the digital sector. The novel result of this paper is that banning exports can also be optimal, and in some cases superior, as it prevents technological diffusion to a challenger that may eventually become the global supplier, capturing monopoly rents and posing cybersecurity risks. However, export or import bans would come at a deleterious cost to the global economy. The paper concludes that fostering international cooperation, including in the cyber domain, could be key to avoiding technological and economic decoupling and securing better livelihoods.
Emmanouil Kitsios, João Tovar Jalles, and Ms. Genevieve Verdier
How can governments reduce the prevalence of cross-border tax fraud? This paper argues that the use of digital technologies offers an opportunity to reduce fraud and increase government revenue. Using data on intra-EU and world trade transactions, we present evidence that (i) cross-border trade tax fraud is non-trivial and prevalent in many countries; (ii) such fraud can be alleviated by the use of digital technologies at the border; and (iii) potential revenue gains of digitalization from reducing trade fraud could be substantial. Halving the distance to the digitalization frontier could raise revenues by over 1.5 percent of GDP in low-income developing countries.
This paper presents a set of collaborative filtering algorithms that produce product recommendations to diversify and optimize a country's export structure in support of sustainable long-term growth. The recommendation system is able to accurately predict the historical trends in export content and structure for high-growth countries, such as China, India, Poland, and Chile, over 20-year spans. As a contemporary case study, the system is applied to Paraguay, to create recommendations for the country's export diversification strategy.
Mr. Andrew Baer, Mr. Kwangwon Lee, and James Tebrake
Digitalization and the innovative use of digital technologies is changing the way we work, learn, communicate, buy and sell products. One emerging digital technology of growing importance is cloud computing. More and more businesses, governments and households are purchasing hardware and software services from a small number of large cloud computing providers. This change is having an impact on how macroeconomic data are compiled and how they are interpreted by users. Specifically, this is changing the information and communication technology (ICT) investment pattern from one where ICT investment was diversified across many industries to a more concentrated investment pattern. Additionally, this is having an impact on cross-border flows of commercial services since the cloud service provider does not need to be located in the same economic territory as the purchaser of cloud services. This paper will outline some of the methodological and compilation challenges facing statisticians and analysts, provide some tools that can be used to overcome these challenges and highlight some of the implications these changes are having on the way users of national accounts data look at investment and trade in commercial services.
A technical Assistance (TA) Mission was conducted by CAPTAC-DR1 from May 14 to 18, 2018 with the objective of supporting the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador (CBR) in its efforts to strengthen its national accounts statistics for decision making. The TA mission covered the following topics: compilation of an Input-Output Table (IOT) for 2014; as well as to follow up on the recommendations made in previous TA missions to disseminate Supply and Use Tables (SUT) for 2015 and thereafter, as part of the national accounts’ series with base year 2005. In addition, the mission provided training to the Department of National Accounts (DNA) team of the CBR in the methodological and conceptual aspects necessary for the analysis and application of the IOT as a statistical and analytical tool.
In many countries, a sizable share of international trade is carried out by intermediaries. While large firms tend to export to foreign markets directly, smaller firms typically export via intermediaries (indirect exporting). I document a set of facts that characterize the dynamic nature of indirect exporting using firm-level data from Vietnam and develop a dynamic trade model with both direct and indirect exporting modes and customer accumulation. The model is calibrated to match the dynamic moments of the data. The calibration yields fixed costs of indirect exporting that are less than a third of those of direct exporting, the variable costs of indirect exporting are twice higher, and demand for the indirectly exported products grows more slowly. Decomposing the gains from indirect and direct exporting, I find that 18 percent of the gains from trade in Vietnam are generated by indirect exporters. Finally, I demonstrate that a dynamic model that excludes the indirect exporting channel will overstate the welfare gains associated with trade liberalization by a factor of two.
It has been two years since the trade tensions erupted and not only captured policymakers’ but also the research community’s attention. Research has quickly zoomed in on understanding trade war rhetoric, tariff implementation, and economic impacts. The first article in the December 2019 issue sheds light on the consequences of the recent trade barriers.