Over the past decades ASEAN countries have experienced rapid economic growth accompanied by a dramatic fall in poverty rates, but income inequality has not retreated. This research aims at identifying factors which could contribute to more equally distributed growth in ASEAN. To measure inclusive growth, we use a variable integrating per capita income growth and an equity index. A cross-country panel analysis of the impact of macro-structural factors on inclusive growth and its two components suggests that fiscal redistribution, female labor force participation, productivity growth, FDI inflows, digitalization, and savings significantly drive inclusive growth. A scenario analysis based on our econometric results suggests that the implementation of fiscal redistribution and labor market-oriented structural reforms could help significantly accelerate inclusive growth in ASEAN.
Thailand stands out in international comparison as a country with a high dispersion of productivity across sectors. It has especially low labor productivity in agriculture—a sector that employs a much larger share of the population than is typical for a country at Thailand’s level of income. This suggests large potential productivity gains from labor reallocation across sectors, but that process—which made a significant contribution to Thailand’s growth in the past—appears to have stalled lately. This paper establishes these facts and applies a simple model to discuss possible explanations. The reasons include a gap between the skills possessed by rural workers and those required in the modern sectors; the government’s price support programs for several agricultural commodities, particularly rice; and the uniform minimum wage. At the same time, agriculture plays a useful social and economic role as the employer of last resort. The paper makes a number of policy recommendations aimed at facilitating structural transformation in the Thai economy.
Despite the rapid economic growth and poverty reduction, inequality in Asia worsened during last two decades. We focus on the determinants of growth inclusiveness and suggest options for reform. A cross cross-country empirical analysis suggests that fiscal redistribution, monetary policy aimed at macro stability, and structural reforms to stimulate trade, reduce unemployment and increase productivity are important determinants of inclusive growth. The main policy implication of our analysis is that there is still room to strengthen such policies in Asia to better achieve growth with shared prosperity. In particular, scenario simulations based on our results suggests that the effect of expanding fiscal redistribution on inclusive growth could be sizeable in emerging Asia, since the estimated improvement in our proxy of inclusive growth – a measure of growth in average income “corrected” for the equity impact—ranges from about 1 to about 8 percentage points.
This study seeks to explain economic growth differences in an aggregate production function framework, where labor reallocation from agriculture to modern sectors influences labor efficiency growth. The econometric analysis uses a panel of 65 countries over 1960-90. The results highlight: (a) the differences in labor reallocation impact on growth, controlled for using the intersectoral wedge in labor productivities; (b) the significance of labor reallocation effects, even after controlling for capital accumulation, initial conditions, and country effects; (c) the role of slow labor reallocation in explaining the dummy variable for Sub-Saharan Africa; (d) the role of initial education levels in explaining differences in labor reallocation rates.