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International Monetary Fund
Using Chilean data, we document that for resource-rich small open economies the effects of terms of trade shocks on the wage gap (between skilled and unskilled workers) depend on factor intensities in the non-tradable sector, following the model in Galiani, Heymann, and Magud (2010). For a skilled-intensive non-tradable sector we show that improvements in the terms of trade benefit skilled workers. We also show that this relation holds at the industry level: the wage gap widens in skilled-intensive sectors while it shrinks in unskilled-intensive ones, the more so as terms of trade volatility decreases.
Mr. Serhan Cevik and Carolina Correa-Caro
This paper investigates the empirical characteristics of income inequality in China and a panel of BRIC+ countries over the period 1980–2013, with a focus on the redistributive contribution of fiscal policy. Using instrumental variable techniques to deal with potential endogeneity, we find evidence supporting the hypothesis of the existence of a Kuznets curve—an inverted Ushaped relationship between income inequality and economic development—in China and the panel of BRIC+ countries. In the case of China, the empirical results indicate that government spending and taxation have opposing effects on income inequality. While government spending appears to have a worsening impact, taxation improves income distribution. Even though the redistributive effect of fiscal policy in China appears to be stronger than what we identify in the BRIC+ panel, it is not large enough to compensate for the adverse impact of other influential factors.
Mr. Damiano Sandri
This paper shows that the behavior of entrepreneurs facing incomplete financial markets and risky investment can explain why growth accelerations in developing countries tend to be associated with current account improvements. The uninsurable risk of losing invested capital forces entrepreneurs to rely on self-financing, so that when business opportunities open up entrepreneurs increase saving to finance the investment that produces growth. The key insight is that saving has to rise more than investment to allow also for the accumulation of precautionary assets. Plausibly calibrated simulations show that this net saving increase can sustain large and persistent net capital outflows.
Ms. Dalia S Hakura, Mr. Mumtaz Hussain, Ms. Monique Newiak, Mr. Vimal V Thakoor, and Mr. Fan Yang
A growing body of empirical evidence suggests that inequality—income or gender related—can impede economic growth. Using dynamic panel regressions and new time series data, this paper finds that both income and gender inequalities, including from legal gender-based restrictions, are jointly negatively associated with per capita GDP growth. Examining the relationship for countries at different stages of development, we find that this effect prevails mainly in lower income countries. In particular, per capita income growth in sub-Saharan Africa could be higher by as much as 0.9 percentage points on average if inequality was reduced to the levels observed in the fastgrowing emerging Asian countries. High levels of income inequality in sub-Saharan Africa appear partly driven by structural features. However, the paper’s findings show that policies that influence the opportunities of low-income households and women to participate in economic activities also matter and, therefore, if well-designed and targeted, could play a role in alleviating inequalities.
Mr. Gonzalo Salinas
The lack of a clear link between general economic fundamentals and export diversification indicators in the literature has fueled the believe that industrial policies are an absolute requisite to diversify exports. This paper, however, does find a strong statistical connection between horizontal policies and diversification by making two novel changes to traditional methodologies: using export categories that lead to diversification (for example, manufactures) as dependent variables, and using a gravity-equation regression setting. Proximity to other economies explains about a third of cross-country heterogeneity in targeted exports, and four fifths together with horizontal policies. Australia, Chile, and New Zealand emerge as new role models for diversification policies.