This paper uses a Ricardian framework to clarify the role of micro–economic and macroeconomic factors governing the time–series and cross–sectional behavior of sectoral trade balances. Unit labor costs and trade balances are calculated for several sectors for the seven major industrial countries. The time–series and cross-sectional variation in sectoral unit labor costs is decomposed into relative productivity, wage differentials, and exchange rate variations. The main findings are that changes over time in sectoral trade balances, especially for the United States and Japan, are quite well explained by the evolution of unit labor cost, suggesting that trade patterns conform to comparative advantage. The cross–sectional results are, however, less conclusive.
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.
Existing studies on the downward trend in the labor share of income mostly focus on changes
within individual countries. I document, however, that half of the global decline in the labor
share of income can be traced to the relocation of activities between countries. I develop a
two-country model to show that when the relative price of investment goods falls, production
activities with a small elasticity of substitution between capital and labor tend to get
offshored from high- to low-wage countries. The model provides an explanation as to why
such relocation may drive the labor share down in both developed and developing
economies, as well as globally.
One of the most important recent developments in international trade is the increasing interconnectedness of export production through a vertical trading chain network that streches across many countries, with each country specializing in particular stages of a good’s production. Using value added trade statistics, this paper tries to dissect and reshape understanding of European exports: where exports values are created, the role of vertical supply links in export growth, what is contributing to the growth in supply links, and how comparative advantages of countries are affected by supply links over time. Our analysis finds strong role of supply links in cross-country export performance in Europe, where these links between countries grew based on physical proximity, cost differential and similarity in export structure.
This paper identifies a new mechanism leading to inefficiency in capital reallocation at the
extensive margin when an economy experiences a sectoral boom. I argue that imperfections
in the financial market and capital barriers to entry in the booming sector create a
misallocation of managerial talent. Using comprehensive firm-level data from China, I first
provide evidence that more productive firms reallocate capital to the booming real estate
sector, and demonstrate that the pattern is likely driven by fewer financial constraints on
these firms. I then use a structural estimation to verify the talent misallocation. Finally, I
calibrate a dynamic model and find that the without the misallocation, the TFP growth in the
manufacturing sector would have improved by 0.5% per year.
This paper uses a Ricardian framework to clarify the role of microeconomic and macroeconomic factors governing the time series and cross-section behavior of sectoral trade balances. Unit labor costs and trade balances are calculated for several sectors for the seven major industrial countries. The time series and cross-section variation in sectoral unit labor costs is decomposed into relative productivity, wage differentials, and exchange rate variations. The main findings are that changes over time in sectoral trade balances, especially for the United States and Japan, are quite well explained by the evolution of unit labor cost, suggesting that trade patterns conform to comparative advantage. The cross-section results are, however, less conclusive.
Tatiana Didier, Sebastian Herrador, and Magali Pinat
This paper assesses whether cross-border M&A decisions exhibit network effects. We estimate exponential random graph models (ERGM) and temporal exponential random graph models (TERGM) to evaluate the determinants of cross-country M&A investments at the sectoral level. The results show that transitivity matters: a country is more likely to invest in a new destination if one of its existing partners has already made some investments there. In line with the literature on export platforms and informational barriers, we find a sizable impact of third country effects on the creation of new investments. This effect is sizable and larger than some of the more traditional M&A determinants, such as trade openness.
Industrial policy is tainted with bad reputation among policymakers and academics and is often viewed as the road to perdition for developing economies. Yet the success of the Asian Miracles with industrial policy stands as an uncomfortable story that many ignore or claim it cannot be replicated. Using a theory and empirical evidence, we argue that one can learn more from miracles than failures. We suggest three key principles behind their success: (i) the support of domestic producers in sophisticated industries, beyond the initial comparative advantage; (ii) export orientation; and (iii) the pursuit of fierce competition with strict accountability.
This paper compares two alternative measures of technology differences across industrial countries during 1970-92: one measures differences in labor productivity (the Ricardian measure), and the other differences in total factor productivity (the Hicksian measure). The distinction between the two measures is important to the extent that trade patterns are inconsistent with comparative advantage revealed by the Hicksian measure, but not necessarily with that by the Ricardian measure. The distinction becomes more important in the period with high capital mobility across countries.
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.