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Dongyeol Lee and Huan Zhang
Export structure is less diversified in low-income countries (LICs) and especially small states that face resource constraints and small economic size. This paper explores the potential linkages between export structure and economic growth and its volatility in LICs and small states, using a range of indices of export concentration differing in the coverage of industries. The empirical analysis finds that export diversification may promote economic growth and reduce economic volatility in these countries. Furthermore, the analysis demonstrates that the economic benefits of export diversification differ by country size and income level—there are bigger benefits for relatively larger and poorer countries within the group of LICs and small states.
Suprabha Baniya
This paper investigates the effect of timeliness in accessing the intermediate inputs on the trade pattern. In particular, any country that has a higher ability to transport goods on time has a comparative advantage in industries that place a higher value on the timely delivery of their inputs, and this comparative advantage pattern is stronger for processed goods than for primary goods. To do this, a measure for how intensively any industry demands for the timely delivery of its intermediate inputs is constructed combining Hummels and Schaur (2013)’s calculations of the time sensitivity of products with the input-output tables.
Rahul Anand, Ms. Kalpana Kochhar, and Mr. Saurabh Mishra
Structural transformation depends not only on how much countries export but also on what they export and with whom they trade. This paper breaks new ground in analyzing India’s exports by the technological content, quality, sophistication, and complexity of the export basket. We identify five priority areas for policies: (1) reduction of trade costs, at and behind the border; (2) further liberalization of FDI including through simplification of regulations and procedures; (3) improving infrastructure including in urban areas to enhance manufacturing and services in cities; (4) preparing labor resources (skills) and markets (flexibility) for the technological progress that will shape jobs in the years ahead; and (5) creating an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to draw the economy into higher productivity activities.
Ms. Naomi N Griffin
The appreciation of the real exchange rate over the past several years is considered one of the key drivers behind the weak performance of Colombia’s manufacturing sector in recent years. This paper examines the effects of the real exchange rate, external and domestic demand, and structural changes on firms’ profitability in Colombia’s manufacturing sector between 2000 and 2012. While export intensive companies have suffered lower profit growth with real exchange rate appreciation,we find no strong evidence that real appreciation has, on average, negatively affected the profitability of manufacturing firms; on the contrary, we find that real appreciation may have increased firms’ profitability by reducing the cost of imported inputs as Colombian manufacturing firms become more domestically oriented. At the same time, some structural changes (related to trade disruption with Venezuela and increased trade competition from China) seem to partially explain the weakness of the manufacturing sector since 2008.
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.
Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov
A key priority for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is to create a dynamic non-oil tradable sector to support sustainable growth. Since export diversification takes a long time, it has to start now. We argue that the failure to diversify away from oil stems mainly from market failures rather than government failures. To tackle market failures, the government needs to change the incentive structure for workers and firms. Experiences of oil exporters that managed to diversify suggest that a focus on competing in international markets and an emphasis on technological upgrade and climbing the “quality ladder” are crucial.
Mr. Nikoloz Gigineishvili, Mr. Paolo Mauro, and Ke Wang
Is rapid economic growth experienced by the East African Community during the past decade built on solid foundations? To gain some clues, we use a variety of newly-collected and existing data sources to analyze the structural transformation of output and exports, as well as indicators of their quality and sophistication. The move from agriculture to a wide range of other sectors—bodes well for continued growth, as do gradual improvements in quality. Yet, no clear winners on the production side seem to have emerged, to embed a durable comparative advantage in international markets. These observations may instill a note of caution against projecting rapid growth into the distant future.
Mr. Tidiane Kinda
Using manufacturing and services firm-level data for 30 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, this paper shows that taxation is not a significant driver for the location of foreign firms in SSA, while other investment climate factors, such as infrastructure, human capital, and insitutions, are. By analyzing disaggregate FDI data, the paper establishes that, while there is considerable contrast in behavior between vertical FDI (foreign firms producing for export) and horizontal FDI (foreign firms producing for local markets), taxation is not a key determinant for either type of FDI. Horizontal FDI is attracted to areas with higher trade regulations, highlighting interest in protected markets. Furthermore, horizontal FDI is affected more by financing and human capital constraints, and less by infrastructure and institutional constraints, than is vertical FDI.
Mr. Nikola Spatafora, Rahul Anand, and Mr. Saurabh Mishra
A new dataset on export sophistication reveals that in many countries the importance of modern services, and the sophistication of manufactured and service exports, has increased over time. However, this trend was less pronounced in LICs. Sophisticated sectors are more likely to act as a catalyst for broad-based economic growth, rather than turning into isolated enclaves, when the economy is liberalized, the exchange rate is not overvalued, and there are good information flows. An educated workforce, external liberalization, and good information flows are important prerequisites for developing sophisticated goods and services. An appropriate macroeconomic policy is particularly important for goods, skilled labor and good information flows for services.
Mr. Bogdan Lissovolik, Mr. Julio Escolano, Ms. Stefania Fabrizio, Mr. Werner Schule, Mr. Herman Z Bennett, Mr. Stephen Tokarick, Mr. Yuan Xiao, Ms. Marialuz Moreno Badia, Miss Eva Gutierrez, and Mr. Iryna V. Ivaschenko
This collection of studies analyzes developments in nonprice external competitiveness of France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. While France, Italy, and Portugal have experienced substantial export market share losses, Greece and Spain performed relatively well. Export market share losses appear associated with rigidities in resource allocation (sectoral, geographical, technological) relative to peers and lower productivity gains in high value-added sectors. Disaggregated analysis of goods and services export markets provides insights on aspects such as quality, market concentration, growth of destination markets, and geographical and sectoral diversification. Also, increased import penetration, offshoring and FDI could improve productivity and export performance.