This paper provides a theoretical model to address the issue of how industrialization affects the structure of international trade. Considering both horizontal and vertical product differentiation, the model shows that intra-industry trade increases when product quality improvement emerges in a developing country and when a difference in relative factor endowments between a developed and a developing countries shrinks. To promote understanding of the conclusions of the model, the paper also uses actual trade data between Japan and Indonesia and between Japan and Korea.
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.
Thailand stands out in international comparison as a country with a high dispersion of productivity across sectors. It has especially low labor productivity in agriculture—a sector that employs a much larger share of the population than is typical for a country at Thailand’s level of income. This suggests large potential productivity gains from labor reallocation across sectors, but that process—which made a significant contribution to Thailand’s growth in the past—appears to have stalled lately. This paper establishes these facts and applies a simple model to discuss possible explanations. The reasons include a gap between the skills possessed by rural workers and those required in the modern sectors; the government’s price support programs for several agricultural commodities, particularly rice; and the uniform minimum wage. At the same time, agriculture plays a useful social and economic role as the employer of last resort. The paper makes a number of policy recommendations aimed at facilitating structural transformation in the Thai economy.
Mr. Nikoloz Gigineishvili, Mr. Paolo Mauro, and Ke Wang
Is rapid economic growth experienced by the East African Community during the past decade built on solid foundations? To gain some clues, we use a variety of newly-collected and existing data sources to analyze the structural transformation of output and exports, as well as indicators of their quality and sophistication. The move from agriculture to a wide range of other sectors—bodes well for continued growth, as do gradual improvements in quality. Yet, no clear winners on the production side seem to have emerged, to embed a durable comparative advantage in international markets. These observations may instill a note of caution against projecting rapid growth into the distant future.