Jesmin Rahman, Ara Stepanyan, Jessie Yang, and Mr. Li Zeng
How do countries enhance their exports of goods in a largely tariff-free environment? Our investigation of export performance of new member states in the European Union single market, which provides a natural control for barrier-free environment, points to the importance of structural reforms, particularly in the areas of higher education, skills upgrade, wage structure’s ability to provide incentives to work and foreign investment environment. In addition, establishing links with supply chains, which in addition to the above-mentioned reforms also depend on better institutions and infrastructure, are important. The analysis in the paper shows that new member states are at varying levels of quality and integration, which highlights the need for country-specific policy priorities. Services trade, which is subject to significant non-tariff barriers in the EU market even after the implementation of the Services Directive, shows considerable room for growth given the comparative advantage of some of the new member states.
Mr. Ruben V Atoyan, Mr. Jonathan F Manning, and Jesmin Rahman
After the 2003-2007 economic boom, European countries with large pre-crisis current account imbalances are undergoing adjustments. Countries are adjusting at different paces and ways reflecting the source and magnitude of imbalances, availability of financing, competitiveness of the tradable sector and external environment. While emerging European countries with large pre-crisis imbalances and a fixed exchange rate regime have seen sharp current account adjustments and a rebound in growth, adjustment in the euro zone periphery countries, which are also carrying a legacy of pre-crisis CA imbalances, has been gradual with difficulties bringing back growth. This paper is an empirical investigation of current account adjustment in Europe with a focus on these two groups, looking at contributions from cyclical and other factors, and seeking to draw policy conclusions.
Mr. Adolfo Barajas, Mr. Ralph Chami, Mr. Christian H Ebeke, and Mr. Sampawende J Tapsoba
This paper shows that remittance flows significantly increase the business cycle synchronization between remittance-recipient countries and the rest of the world. Using both aggregate and bilateral remittances data in a panel data setting, the study demonstrates that this effect is robust and causal. Moreover, the econometric analysis reveals that remittance flows are more effective in channeling economic downturns than upswings from the sending countries to remittance-receiving economies. The analysis suggests that measures of openness and spillovers could be enhanced by accounting for the role of the remittances channel.
Mr. Yiqun Wu, Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello, and Niamh Sheridan
Regional integration of Pacific Island countries (PICs) with Australia, New Zealand, and emerging Asia has increased over the last two decades. PICs have become more exposed to the region’s business cycles, and spillovers from regional economies are more important for PICs than from advanced economies outside the region. While strong linkages with Asia would help in the event of a global downturn, PICs remain particularly vulnerable to global commodity price shocks. In this paper, we use a Vector Error Correction Model (VECM) for each PIC to gauge the impact of global and regional growth spillovers. The analysis reveals that the impact on PICs’ growth from an adverse oil shock would be substantial, and in some cases even larger than from a negative global demand shock. We also assess the spillovers to the financial sector from the deterioration of the global outlook. PICs should continue to rebuild policy buffers and implement growth-oriented structural reforms to ensure sustained and inclusive growth.
This study investigates the role of India's economy in explaining the observed growth in South Asia, taking into consideration other sources of growth endogenous to the countries in the region. Since a review of key variables indicates that India's bilateral trade and financial linkages with South Asian countries (SAC) are relatively weak, the paper analyses the spillover effects by focusing on growth more generally with India's growth as an explanatory variable. The results of the panel growth regressions suggest that India's growth has good explanatory power for growth in other SAC after 1995.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, and Mrs. Sarwat Jahan
This paper documents the expanding economic linkages between low-income countries (LICs) and a narrow group of "Emerging Market leaders" that have become major players in regional and global trade and financial flows. VAR models show that these linkages have increased the share of growth volatility that can be attributed to foreign shocks in LICs. Dynamic panel models further analyze the impact of LIC trade orientation and production structure on the sensitivity to foreign shocks. The empirical results demonstrate that the elasticity of growth to trading partners' growth is high for LICs in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia. However, for commodity-exporting LICs in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, terms of trade shocks and demand from the emerging market leaders are the main channels of transmission of foreign shocks.
Mr. Atish R. Ghosh, Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, and Mr. Charalambos G Tsangarides
Why have emerging market economies (EMEs) been stockpiling international reserves? We find that motives have varied over time?vulnerability to current account shocks was relatively important in the 1980s but, as EMEs have become more financially integrated, factors related to the magnitude of potential capital outflows have gained in importance. Reserve accumulation as a by-product of undervalued currencies has also become more important since the Asian crisis. Correspondingly, using quantile regressions, we find that the reason for holding reserves varies according to the country's position in the global reserves distribution. High reserve holders, who tend to be more financially integrated, are motivated by insurance against capital account rather than current account shocks, and are more sensitive to the cost of holding reserves than are low-reserve holders. Currency undervaluation is a significant determinant across the reserves distribution, albeit for different reasons.
Ms. Isabelle Mejean, Thierry Mayer, and Benjamin Nefussi
Economists interested in location choices usually focus their attention on investments abroad. This neglects the fact that multinational enterprises continue to invest domestically while undertaking foreign expansion. This paper compares investments at home and abroad. Our firm-level dataset shows an important home bias in productive investments. Part of this "excessive" domestic investment is explained by standard determinants of location choices. The interdependence between affiliates of the same industrial group however accounts for the lion's share of the home bias. Moreover, French firms' propensity to invest abroad is positively related to their productivity and the size of their intangible assets.