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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. 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. Heloisa Marone
This study analyzes Cabo Verde’s demographic transition from the perspective of gender equality. As the pace of the demographic transition slows, promoting gender equality and increasing women’s labor force participation will be progressively more important in enhancing otherwise slow-growth dynamics, reducing poverty, and improving the lives of all, women and men. The study investigates gender gaps in the labor market participation rate, employment conditions, and the use of time dedicated to unpaid work. It also discusses policy options to decrease the time women spend on unpaid work, enhance their employability, and enable them to secure employment. Overall, this study contributes to the debate on how better to manage the potential dividends resulting from demographic transitions on the still young but rapidly aging African continent.
Mr. Arye L. Hillman
This paper is concerned with economic consequences of unethical governance. A framework is set out, based on principles of Friedrich Nietzsche, that ties poverty and inequality to unethical behavior of the strong toward the weak. The paper contributes to an understanding of why poverty and inequality have remained entrenched in some societies in spite of repeated programs intended to improve living standards. The purpose is to include ethics of governance, and, in particular, unethical behavior of the strong toward the weak, in preconditions for economic development.
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. Dhaneshwar Ghura
An analysis of data for 39 sub-Saharan African countries during 1985–96 indicates that the variations in tax revenue-GDP ratios within this group are influenced by economic policies and the level of corruption. Namely, these ratios rise with declining inflation, implementation of structural reforms, rising human capital (a proxy for the provision of public services by the government), and declining corruption. The paper confirms that the tax revenue ratio rises with income, and that elements of a country’s tax base (such as the share of agriculture in GDP and the degree of openness) influence tax revenue.
Mr. Ruben V Atoyan and Jesmin Rahman
The Western Balkan countries have some of the lowest female labor force participation and employment rates across Europe. Almost two-thirds of working age women in the region are either inactive or unemployed: a huge bite into human capital for a region that endures high emigration and faces declining working age population. The paper uses both macro- and micro-level data to explore what explains low participation and employment rates among women in the region. Our findings show that improving educational attainment, having a more balanced family leave policy, and reducing tax wedge help improve participation of women in the labor force. However, these measures are not enough to notably improve employability of women, which require stronger growth supported by robust institutions.
Shahid Yusuf
Since the onset of the Arab Spring, economic uncertainty in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen (Arab Countries in Transition, ACTs) has slowed already sluggish growth; worsened unemployment, particularly of youth; undermined business confidence, affected tourist arrivals, and depressed domestic and foreign direct investment. Furthermore, political and social tensions have constrained reform efforts. Assessing policy options as presented in the voluminous literature on the Arab Spring and based on cross-country experience, this paper concludes that sustainable and inclusive growth calls for a two pronged approach: short term measures that revive growth momentum and partially allay popular concerns; complemented with efforts to adjust the public’s expectations and prepare the ground for structural reforms that will deliver the desired longer tem performance.
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.