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Ms. Meral Karasulu and Mr. Sergei Dodzin

Technology is generating a global convergence. A "big bang" of information—and education as well—is improving human lives. And with global interconnectivity growing by leaps and bounds, we are all witness to a rapid spread of information and ideas. But, as we have seen from the prolonged global financial crisis, our interconnectedness carries grave risks as well as benefits. This issue of F&D looks at different aspects of interconnectedness, globally and in Asia. • Brookings VP Kemal Devis presents the three fundamental trends in the global economy affecting the balance between east and west in "World Economy: Convergence, Interdependence, and Divergence." • In "Financial Regionalism," Akihiro Kawai and Domenico Lombardi tell us how regional arrangements are helping global financial stability. • In "Migration Meets Slow Growth," Migration Policy Institute president Demetrios Papademetriou examines how the global movement of workers will change as the economic crisis continues in advanced economies. • "Caught in the Web" explains new ways of looking at financial interconnections in a globalized world. • IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde provides her take on the benefits of integration and the risks of fragmentation in "Straight Talk." Also in this issue, we take a closer look at interconnectedness across Asia as we explore how trade across the region is affected by China's falling trade surplus, how India and China might learn from each others' success, and what Myanmar's reintegration into the global economy means for its people. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Justin Yifu Lin, first developing country World Bank economist, and the Back to Basics series explains the origins and evolution of money.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper reviews Bangladesh’s recent growth experience and per capita income. The paper identifies several key impediments to growth, namely: poor governance; restrictive trade and regulatory regimes; and inadequate investment in human capital and physical infrastructure. The paper makes the case that the medium-term fiscal strategy should be centered on boosting the revenue performance of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) by reorganizing it along functional lines, adopting a system of self-assessment, establishing a risk-based auditing system, and introducing a unique taxpayer identification number.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This Selected Issues paper takes stock of poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Poverty has receded in the DRC over the last decade on the back of gradual stabilization in the security and political situation, strong economic growth, and sharp decline in inflationary pressures. Most social indicators also improved during the period. However, poverty remains pervasive with a level still among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, and DRC will likely not achieve any of the Millennium Developments Goals by 2015. Policy actions should focus on fostering the development of labor-intensive sector, increasing social spending, and redirecting public resources to the poorest regions of the country.

Ms. Louise Fox, Mr. Alun H. Thomas, and Cleary Haines
This paper provides the most complete analysis of the structural transformation among low- and low-middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa to date.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Giang Ho, and Ms. Annette J Kyobe
This paper empirically assesses the role of structural and institutional reforms in driving productivity growth across countries at different stages of development, using a distance-to-frontier framework. It gauges whether particular policies and reforms matter more for increasing productivity growth at the aggregate and sectoral levels for some emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) than others. Recognizing the possibility of time lags between reform implementation and reform payoffs, the paper also examines how productivity gains from various reforms evolve over the the short- and medium-term.
Jorge Alvarez
A key feature of developing economies is that wages in agriculture are significantly below those of other sectors. Using Brazilian household surveys and administrative panel data, I use information on workers who switch sectors to decompose the drivers of this gap. I find that most of the gap is explained by differences in worker composition. The evidence speaks against the existence of large short-term gains from reallocating workers out of agriculture and favors recently proposed Roy models of inter-sector sorting. A calibrated sorting model of structural transformation can account for the wage gap level observed and its decline as the economy transitioned out of agriculture.
International Monetary Fund
This paper undertakes a cross-country analysis of productivity growth at both the aggregate and sectoral level. It finds that Asia's remarkable output growth over the past 40 years reflected both high investment, and rapid productivity increases. These factors were in turn supported by the region's relatively strong institutional and policy environment, which encouraged resource shifts from low- to high-productivity sectors. Looking ahead, sustaining rapid growth requires meeting a number of key challenges: (i) implementing reforms to boost productivity in the increasingly important, but currently lagging, service sectors; (ii) providing policy support for continuing the shift of resources from agriculture to industry and services; (iii) strengthening policy frameworks in late-developing countries.
Mr. Jaewoo Lee and Man-Keung Tang
We revisit the time-honored link between productivity and the real exchange rate. Consistent with the traditional view, we find that higher labor productivity tends to lead to appreciation of the real exchange rate. Contrary to the traditional view, however, we find that the positive productivity effect is transmitted through the real exchange rate based on tradable prices, rather than through relative prices between tradables and nontradables. Moreover, higher total factor productivity is found, if anything, to lead to depreciation of the real exchange rate. These last two pieces of evidence provide support for the emerging view that limited tradability of goods and services provides scope for the strategic pricing decision, which has material consequences for the aggregate real exchange rate.
Mr. Willy A Hoffmaister, Mr. David T. Coe, and Mr. Elhanan Helpman
The empirical analysis in "International R&D Spillovers" (Coe and Helpman, 1995) is first revisited by applying modern panel cointegration estimation techniques to an expanded data set that we have constructed for the purpose of this study. The new estimates confirm the key results reported in Coe and Helpman about the impact of domestic and foreign R&D capital stocks on TFP. In addition, we show that domestic and foreign R&D capital stocks have measurable impacts on TFP even after controlling for the impact of human capital. Furthermore, we extend the analysis to include institutional variables, such as legal origin and patent protection, in order to allow for parameter heterogeneity based on a country's institutional characteristics. The results suggest that institutional differences are important determinants of total factor productivity and that they impact the degree of R&D spillovers.