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.
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.
Mr. Tim Callen, Reda Cherif, Fuad Hasanov, Mr. Amgad Hegazy, and Padamja Khandelwal
Abstract: The economies of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are heavily reliant on oil. Greater economic diversification would reduce their exposure to volatility and uncertainty in the global oil market, help create jobs in the private sector, increase productivity and sustainable growth, and help create the non-oil economy that will be needed in the future when oil revenues start to dwindle. The GCC countries have followed many of the standard policies that are usually thought to promote more diversified economies, including reforms to improve the business climate, the development of domestic infrastructure, financial deepening, and improvements in education. Nevertheless, success to date has been limited. This paper argues that increased diversification will require realigning incentives for firms and workers in the economies—fixing these incentives is the “missing link” in the GCC countries’ diversification strategies. At present, producing non-tradables is less risky and more profitable for firms as they can benefit from the easy availability of low-wage foreign labor and the rapid growth in government spending, while the continued availability of high-paying and secure public sector jobs discourages nationals from pursuing entrepreneurship and private sector employment. Measures to begin to address these incentive issues could include limiting and reorienting government spending, strengthening private sector competition, providing guarantees and financial support for those firms engaged in export activity, and implementing labor market reforms to make nationals more competitive for private sector employment.