This paper draws on existing empirical literature and an original theoretical model to argue that globalization and skill supply affect the extent to which technology adoption in developing countries favors skilled workers. Developing countries are experiencing technical change that is skill-biased because skill-biased technologies are becoming relatively cheaper. Increased skill supply further biases technical change in favor of skilled labor. Free trade induces technology that favors skilled workers in skill-abundant developing countries and that favors unskilled workers in skill-scarce developing countries, and therefore amplifies the predicted wage effects of trade liberalization. These features aid our understanding of the observed rises in inequality within developing countries and the absence of a significant downward effect of expanded educational attainment on skill premia. They also help account for the large and differential effects of trade liberalization on inequality. These findings are pertinent for the Middle East and North Africa because of its recent increase in trade openness and remarkable rise in educational attainment.
Yangkyoon Byeon, Kwanghae Choi, Heenam Choi, and Jun I. Kim
Korea is facing mounting economic challenges. Productivity growth has been on a trend decline amid demographic headwinds, while the societal demand for inclusive growth has been on a steep rise. Furthermore, the government-led unbalanced growth model—which served Korea well in the past—has become less effective and politically palatable in recent years. As such, Korea needs a major paradigm shift to embark on a new sustainable and inclusive growth path. But policy response has been modest at best with no major reforms being implemented over the past two decades. We propose a paradigm shift in Korea’s economic framework, involving a simultaneous big push for greater economic freedom and stronger social protection within the parameters set by long-run fiscal sustainability. We also provide a detailed account of structural reforms to boost economic freedom and sustainable funding plans for stronger social protection.
Based on stylized evidence showing variation of the Gini coefficient of income inequality across skill cohorts and on the rapid rise in trade in technology-intensive goods, the ripple effects of technology transmission and income inequality are explored in a global Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) framework. An exogenous technology shock transmitted via trade from the United States induces productivity growth in developing regions. This spillover capture-aided by absorptive capability, better governance and institutions, technological symmetry and social acceptance-causes income to increase and income inequality to decline. The conjoined parameters retard growth's inequality-enhancing effect and thus facilitate long-run convergence of inequality between nations.
We provide an overview of the theories and empricial evidence on the complex relationship among innovation, competition, and inclusive growth. Competition and innovation-led growth are critical to drive productivity gains and support broad-based growth. However, new technologies and trends in market concentration are stifling future innovation while contributing to the marked increase in inequality. Beyond consumer welfare in a narrow market, competition policy should adapt to this new reality by considering the spillover and dynamic effects of market power, especially on firm entry, innovation, and inequality. Innovation policies should tackle not only government failures but also market failures.
We show empirical evidence that there may not be a tradeoff between market income inequality and high sustained growth, which is key for poverty alleviation. We argue that the economies that achieved high sustained growth and low market income inequality are characterized by dynamism—a drive toward sophisticated export industries, innovation, and creative destruction and a high level of competition. What a country produces and how much it competes domestically and internationally are important for achieving fair and inclusive markets. We explore policy options to steer industrial and market structures toward providing growth opportunities for both workers and firms.
This paper examines the relationship between rent seeking and economic performance when governments cannot enforce property rights. With imperfect credit markets and a fixed cost to rent seeking, only wealthy agents choose to engage in it, as it allows them to protect their wealth from expropriation. Hence, the level of rent seeking and economic performance are determined by the initial distribution of income and wealth. When individuals also differ in their productivity, not all wealthy agents become rent seekers, and the social costs of rent seeking are typically lower. In both cases, multiple equilibria with different levels of rent seeking and production are possible.