The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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Mr. Jean-Claude Berthélemy and Mr. Ludvig Söderling
This paper examines past African growth experience and attempts to simulate future ones. In addition to more commonly used determinants of total factor productivity, a measure of the effect of labor reallocation and an index of economic diversification are constructed and included as factors for long-term growth. A simple model is constructed for the purpose of simulating growth scenarios up to the year 2020 for Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, and Uganda. Even if one makes relatively optimistic assumptions, Africa is not likely to reach "Asian tiger" levels of growth. The results also suggest that growth will depend, to a large extent, on educational investments and productivity gains in agriculture.
Ms. Katrin Elborgh-Woytek and Mr. Julian Berengaut
The paper analyzes the initial output decline in transition economies by estimating a crosssection model stressing two major factors-conflicts and the legacies of the Soviet period. We link the Soviet legacies in place at the outset of the transition to the subsequent path for the development of market-related institutions. Institutional development (as proxied by measures of corruption) is used as an intermediate variable. An instrumental variable approach is followed to derive estimates that are not biased by the possible endogeneity of corruption with respect to output developments. Assuming that the extent of Soviet legacies was positively correlated with the length of the communist rule allows us to use the years under the Soviet regime as an instrument.
Total factor productivity (TFP) of 14 manufacturing sectors in France has kept up with that of the United States during 1980-2002 and remained well above that of the United Kingdom. Estimates using a dynamic panel equilibrium correction model indicate that sectors further behind the technological frontier experience faster productivity growth and that spending on research and development and trade with technologically advanced economies positively influences TFP growth, but not the speed of convergence. Conversely, TFP growth is negatively related to some key labor market variables, namely the replacement ratio and the ratio of the minimum wage to the median wage.
Studies of the impact of trade openness on growth are based either on cross-country analysis-which lacks transparency-or case studies-which lack statistical rigor. We apply transparent econometric methods drawn from the treatment evaluation literature to make the comparison between treated (i.e., open) and control (i.e., closed) countries explicit while remaining within a unified statistical framework. First, matching estimators highlight the rather far-fetched country comparisons underlying common cross-country results. When appropriately restricting the sample, we confirm a positive and significant effect of openness on growth. Second, we apply synthetic control methods-which account for endogeneity due to unobservable heterogeneity-to countries that liberalized their trade regime and we show that trade liberalization has often had a positive effect on growth.
Some natural resources-oil and minerals in particular-exert a negative and nonlinear impact on growth via their deleterious impact on institutional quality. We show this result to be very robust. The Nigerian experience provides telling confirmation of this aspect of natural resources. Waste and poor institutional quality stemming from oil appear to have been primarily responsible for Nigeria's poor long-run economic performance. We propose a solution for addressing this resource curse which involves directly distributing the oil revenues to the public. Even with all the difficulties that will no doubt plague its actual implementation, our proposal will, at the least, be vastly superior to the status quo. At best, however, it could fundamentally improve the quality of public institutions and, as a result, durably raise long-run growth performance.