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Jacques R. Artus

This paper reviews the increasing private capital flows to less developed countries. The share of developing countries in the foreign direct investment is small, perhaps less than 30 percent of the total. The effects of this decline in the volume of foreign investment and the continued problem of capital flight have been aggravated by the serious fall in commercial bank lending to developing countries as a group and by a decline in official development assistance.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper for Canada presents comprehensive and broad-based analysis of the role of domestic and external shocks. Canada’s economic history illustrates the important role played by external as well as domestic macroeconomic disturbances. Canada’s economy slowed in 2001 because of the global slowdown, although by less than in many other countries. In 2003, the recovery has been interrupted by a series of shocks that moderated growth. Fluctuations in Canadian real GDP are explained by external and domestic cycles.

STEPHEN S. GOLUB*

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.

Paul S. Armington

THE DISTRIBUTION of any country’s export and import trade, by destination and by origin, differs substantially from the corresponding distributions for many other countries. Such differences, as well as the differences in size of over-all trade, have an important bearing on the way in which trade flows respond to price changes. For example, if country A expands its exports as a result of a reduction in its price level, the change in value of exports from some other country, B, will naturally depend on the size of B’s total exports, but also on the extent to which B trades with country A and on the extent to which A supplies foreign markets that are important outlets for B’s products. Or, for another example, suppose that A’s trade balance deteriorates as a result of a loss in price competitiveness. The extent to which country B will share in the offsetting improvement in the collective trade balance of other countries will depend on such factors as the importance of A’s products in B’s imports, on the importance of imports in B’s total expenditure, and on the extent to which B’s exports depend on markets that are heavily supplied by A. These structural variables are ratios of recorded trade flows.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Mexico is an open economy with strong real and financial links to the rest of the world with risks of spillovers from global turbulence. Recent gains in market share in the U.S. manufacturing market are owed to improved relative unit labor costs and reemergence of a location advantage. Mexico’s current fiscal framework requires measures to offset the emerging challenges of a decline in oil revenues and the projected increase in health- and pensions-related spending. The sustained increase of bank credit after the global crisis has been reversed. The effects of migration depend on labor reform.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This economic journal contains theoretical and empirical analyses of varous macroeconomic issues. The studies are prepapred by IMF research staff or consultants. Subjects covered inclulde balance of payments and exchange rates, monetary systems and policies, public finances, international trade, economic growth, and some sectoral analyses. The last issue of the year contains an index to the volume. Approximately 200 pages in each issue.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This chapter examines if there was a fundamental shift in the demand for international reserves of countries in 1973 because of the change in the international monetary system from one of generally fixed exchange rates to one of greater exchange rate flexibility. Particular attention was also paid to the question whether the relationship between reserves and certain important variables remained stable during the period 1973–1976. The results indicated that there was a shift in the demand for reserves by industrial countries in response to the move to floating, however, that this shift occurred toward the end of 1973 rather than at the beginning of the year. Obviously, there was some lag in the response of these countries to the change in the system; however, the behavior of non-oil developing countries did not appear to be affected by the change. This can perhaps be attributed to the fact that most of these countries continued to peg their currencies to another currency, and thus there was no real change in the exchange rate regime relevant to them.
International Monetary Fund
This paper presents updated and revised estimates for the World Trade Model. The model estimates import and export price and volume relationships for each of three types of merchandise trade--manufactured, raw material, and agricultural--for 14 of the largest industrial countries. The extended data set has generally resulted in estimated price and volume equations that fit the data better than previous versions of the model. In addition, the simulation properties of the model have been enhanced by imposing long-run activity elasticities of unity on the activity terms in the demand for imported manufactures equations.
Mr. Stephen S. Golub
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.
Mika Saito
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.