Mr. Rodrigo Garcia-Verdu, Alexis Meyer-Cirkel, Akira Sasahara, and Hans Weisfeld
This paper estimates agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) in 162 countries between 1991 and 2015 and aims to understand sources of cross-country variations in agricultural TFP levels and its growth rates. Two factors affecting agricultural TFP are analyzed in detail – imported intermediate inputs and climate. We first show that these two factors are independently important in explaining agricultural TFP – imported inputs raise agricultural TFP; and higher temperatures and rainfall shortages impede TFP growth, particularly in low-income countries (LICs). We also provide a new evidence that, within LICs, those with a higher import component of intermediate inputs seem to be more shielded from the negative impacts of weather shocks.
Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Rene Tapsoba, and Mr. Sampawende J Tapsoba
This paper proposes a new quality of growth index (QGI) for developing countries. The index encompasses both the intrinsic nature and social dimensions of growth, and is computed for over 90 countries for the period 1990-2011. The approach is premised on the fact that not all growth is created equal in terms of social outcomes, and that it does matter how one reaches from one level of income to another for various theoretical and empirical reasons. The paper finds that the quality of growth has been improving in the vast majority of developing countries over the past two decades, although the rate of convergence is relatively slow. At the same time, there are considerable cross-country variations across income levels and regions. Finally, emprirical investigations point to the fact that main factors of the quality of growth are political stability, public pro-poor spending, macroeconomic stability, financial development, institutional quality and external factors such as FDI.
Mr. Adolfo Barajas, Mr. Ralph Chami, and Mr. Seyed Reza Yousefi
A large theoretical and empirical literature has focused on the impact of financial deepening on economic growth throughout the world. This paper contributes to the literature by investigating whether this impact differs across regions, income levels, and types of economy. Using a rich dataset for 150 countries for the period 1975–2005, dynamic panel estimation results suggest that the beneficial effect of financial deepening on economic growth in fact displays measurable heterogeneity; it is generally smaller in oil exporting countries; in certain regions, such as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); and in lower-income countries. Further analysis suggests that these differences might be driven by regulatory/supervisory characteristics and related to differences in the ability to provide widespread access to financial services.
This paper studies the impact of the level and volatility of the commodity terms of trade on economic growth, as well as on the three main growth channels: total factor productivity, physical capital accumulation, and human capital acquisition. We use the standard system GMM approach as well as a cross-sectionally augmented version of the pooled mean group (CPMG) methodology of Pesaran et al. (1999) for estimation. The latter takes account of cross-country heterogeneity and cross-sectional dependence, while the former controls for biases associated with simultaneity and unobserved country-specific effects. Using both annual data for 1970-2007 and five-year non-overlapping observations, we find that while commodity terms of trade growth enhances real output per capita, volatility exerts a negative impact on economic growth operating mainly through lower accumulation of physical capital. Our results indicate that the negative growth effects of commodity terms of trade volatility offset the positive impact of commodity booms; and export diversification of primary commodity abundant countries contribute to faster growth. Therefore, we argue that volatility, rather than abundance per se, drives the "resource curse" paradox.
The paper analyzes how the UNDP, the World Bank, and the IMF classify countries based on their level of development. These systems are found lacking in clarity with regard to their underlying rationale. The paper argues that a country classification system based on a transparent, data-driven methodology is preferable to one based on judgment or ad hoc rules. Such an alternative methodology is developed and used to construct classification systems using a variety of proxies for development attainment.
This paper examines the impact of oil-related income, among other fundamentals, on the equilibrium real effective exchange rate (ERER) in Syria. After reviewing the evolution of the Syrian multiple exchange rate regime since 1960 and assessing alternative measures for the exchange rate, the paper analyzes the impact of oil-related income on the ERER in the context of a behavioral equilibrium exchange rate model. The analysis concludes that ERER appreciates with higher oil-related income, productivity and net foreign assets, but, at odds with the conventional wisdom, depreciates with higher government expenditures given that an increase in expenditures usually translates into higher imports and weaker current account position. In light of the projected real shocks associated with the depletion of oil and the change in other fundamentals in the context of the ongoing transition to a market economy, a more flexible regime would serve Syria better in the future.