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  • Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics: Industrial Structure and Structural Change; Industrial Price Indices x
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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper employs a suite of models to determine the main drivers of inflation in Poland. Inflation in Poland has stayed below the lower bound of the target band for about two years with external shocks adding to downward pressure during 2014. The paper provides a range of inflation forecasts to assess the likelihood of protracted low inflation. The paper considers the main factors underlying recent inflation developments and assesses the importance of first-round indirect and second-round effects of external shocks for headline inflation. Using a variety of models, the paper also provides possible forecast paths for inflation in Poland.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper discusses the assessment of economic activity in Togo in absence of quarterly GDP series. Togo collects about 40 macroeconomic indicators monthly that span a wide range of sectors of the economy. The selection of the variables for the economic activity index is conducted by finding the combination of variables. The indicators are aggregated into an index using a methodology used by the Conference Board. Then an economic activity index is constructed that effectively replicates the historical growth rates of real GDP in Togo. The selected index minimizes the deviations between the growth rates of the indicator and actual real GDP growth over 2002–13.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Alun H. Thomas, Mr. Rodrigo Garcia-Verdu, and Ms. Yingyuan Chen
This paper documents stylized facts on the process of structural transformation around the world and empirically analyzes its determinants using data on real value added by sector of economic activity (agriculture, manufacturing and services) for a panel of 168 countries over the period 1970-2010. The analysis points to large differences in sector shares both across and within regions as well as for countries at similar levels of economic development. Using both linear and quantile regression methods, it finds that a large proportion of the cross-country variation in sector shares can be accounted for by country characteristics, such as real GDP per capita, demographic structure, and population size. It also finds that policy and insitutional variables, such as product market reforms, openness to trade, human and physical capital, and finance improve the baseline model’s ability to account for the variation in sectoral shares across countries.
Michael Walton, Anusha Nath, and Mr. Ashoka Mody
Some see India’s corporate sector as the fundamental driver of recent and future prosperity. Others see it as a source of excessive market power, personal enrichment, and influence over the State, with an ultimately distorting influence. To inform this debate, this paper analyses the correlates of profitability of firms listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, covering a dynamic period-in terms of firm entry and growth-from the early 1990s to the late 2000s. Overall, the results do not provide support for the systematic exercise of market power via the product market. At least for this period, the story is more consistent with a competitive and dynamic business sector, despite the continued dominance of business houses and public sector firms in terms of sales and assets. Those with opposing views can, with justification, argue that our analysis does not cover influences, such as corporate governance and state-corporate relations, which may paint a less flattering picture of the corporate sector’s role. Those broader themes deserve further attention.
Ms. Mitali Das and Benjamin Hilgenstock
Evidence that the automation of routine tasks has contributed to the polarization of labor markets has been documented for many developed economies, but little is known about its incidence in developing economies. We propose a measure of the exposure to routinization—that is, the risk of the displacement of labor by information technology—and assemble several facts that link the exposure to routinization with the prospects of polarization. Drawing on exposures for about 85 countries since 1990, we establish that: (1) developing economies are significantly less exposed to routinization than their developed counterparts; (2) the initial exposure to routinization is a strong predictor of the long-run exposure; and (3) among countries with high initial exposures to routinization, polarization dynamics have been strong and subsequent exposures have fallen; while among those with low initial exposure, the globalization of trade and structural transformation have prevailed and routine exposures have risen. Although we find little evidence of polarization in developing countries thus far, with rapidly rising exposures to routinization, the risks of future labor market polarization have escalated with potentially significant consequences for productivity, growth and distribution.
Mr. Constant A Lonkeng Ngouana
This paper finds a negative relationship between the employment share of the service sector and the volatility of aggregate output in the OECD—after controlling for the level of financial development. This result reflects volatility differentials across sectors: labor productivity is more volatile in agriculture and manufacturing than in services. Aggregate output would therefore become less volatile as labor moves away from agriculture and manufacturing and toward the service sector. I examine the quantitative role of these labor shifts—termed structural transformation—on the volatility of aggregate output in OECD countries. I first calibrate to the U.S. economy an indivisible labor model in which the reallocation of labor across sectors emerges endogenously from sectoral labor productivity growth differentials. The setup is then used to generate the time path of labor shares in agriculture, manufacturing and services in individual countries. Finally, I perform a set of counterfactual analyzes in which the reallocation of labor across sectors is constrained endogenously. I find that the secular shift of labor towards the service sector was volatility-reducing in OECD countries during 1970–2006.