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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. 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. Burcu Hacibedel, Pierre Mandon, Ms. Priscilla S Muthoora, and Nathalie Pouokam
This paper provides evidence of a strong relationship between the short-term dynamics of growth and inequality in developing economies. We find that reductions in inequality during growth upswings are largely reversed during growth slowdowns. Using a new methodology (mediation analysis), we identify unemployment, and youth unemployment especially, as the main channel through which fluctuations in growth affect future dynamics in inequality. These findings suggest that both the quality of jobs created and labor market policies are important to ensure that growth outcomes are conducive to inequality reduction.
Ata Can Bertay, Ljubica Dordevic, and Can Sever
We study whether higher gender equality facilitates economic growth by enabling better allocation of a valuable resource: female labor. By allocating female labor to its more productive use, we hypothesize that reducing gender inequality should disproportionately benefit industries with typically higher female share in their employment relative to other industries. Specifically, we exploit within-country variation across industries to test whether those that typically employ more women grow relatively faster in countries with ex-ante lower gender inequality. The test allows us to identify the causal effect of gender inequality on industry growth in value-added and labor productivity. Our findings show that gender inequality affects real economic outcomes.
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.
Ms. Natasha X Che
This paper studies the linkage between structural coherence and economic growth. Structural coherence is defined as the degree that a country's industrial structure optimally reflects its factor endowment fundamentals. The paper found that at least for the overall capital, the shares of capital intensive industries were significantly bigger with higher initial capital endowment and faster capital accumulation. Moreover, there is a positive relationship between a country's aggregate output growth and the degree of structural coherence. Quantitatively, the structural coherence with respect to the overall capital explains about 30% of the growth differential among sample countries.
Ms. Valerie Cerra and Martha Tesfaye Woldemichael
This paper investigates the determinants of sustained accelerations in goods and services exports. Strong predictors of export takeoffs include domestic and structural indicators such as lower macroeconomic uncertainty, improved quality of institutions, a depreciated exchange rate, and agricultural reforms. Lower tariffs, participation in global value chains and diversification also contribute to initiating export accelerations. The paper also finds heterogeneity, with somewhat different triggers for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as for goods and services. Finally, despite the lack of a robust effect on output, export surges tend to be associated with lower post-acceleration unemployment and income inequality.
Sriram Balasubramanian and Mr. Paul Cashin
This paper examines the origins and use of the concept of Gross National Happiness (or subjective well-being) in the Kingdom of Bhutan, and the relationship between measured well-being and macroeconomic indicators. While there are only a few national surveys of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan, the concept has been used to guide public policymaking for the country’s various Five-Year Plans. Consistent with the Easterlin Paradox, available evidence indicates that Bhutan’s rapid increase in national income is only weakly associated with increases in measured levels of well-being. It will be important for Bhutan to undertake more frequent Gross National Happiness surveys and evaluations, to better build evidence for comovement of well-being and macroeconomic concepts such as real national income.