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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.
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.
Mr. Henry Mooney and Constance de Soyres
This paper develops new error assessment methods to evaluate the performance of debt sustainability analyses (DSAs) for low-income countries (LICs) from 2005-2015. We find some evidence of a bias towards optimism for public and external debt projections, which was most appreciable for LICs with the highest incomes, prospects for market access, and at ‘moderate’ risk of debt distress. This was often driven by overly-ambitious fiscal and/or growth forecasts, and projected ‘residuals’. When we control for unanticipated shocks, we find that biases remain evident, driven in part by optimism regarding government fiscal reaction functions and expected growth dividends from investment.
Ms. Natasha X Che
This paper presents a set of collaborative filtering algorithms that produce product recommendations to diversify and optimize a country's export structure in support of sustainable long-term growth. The recommendation system is able to accurately predict the historical trends in export content and structure for high-growth countries, such as China, India, Poland, and Chile, over 20-year spans. As a contemporary case study, the system is applied to Paraguay, to create recommendations for the country's export diversification strategy.
Mr. Arvind Subramanian and Mr. Devesh Roy
This paper examines different explanations-initial conditions, openness to trade and FDI, and institutions-of the Mauritian growth experience since the mid-1970s. We show that arguments based on openness to trade and FDI are either misleading or incomplete, and the transmission mechanism insufficiently identified. However, even when correctly articulated, openness appears to be a proximate rather than an underlying explanation for the Mauritian experience. The institution-based explanation offers greater promise. Ultimately, however, the econometric results indicate that existing explanations may be incomplete. Some idiosyncratic factors, particularly Mauritian diversity and the responses to managing it, may provide the missing pieces in the story of Mauritius's success.
Ms. Valerie Cerra and Martha Tesfaye Woldemichael
This paper investigates the determinants of sustained accelerations in goods and services exports. Strong predictors of export takeoffs include domestic and structural indicators such as lower macroeconomic uncertainty, improved quality of institutions, a depreciated exchange rate, and agricultural reforms. Lower tariffs, participation in global value chains and diversification also contribute to initiating export accelerations. The paper also finds heterogeneity, with somewhat different triggers for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as for goods and services. Finally, despite the lack of a robust effect on output, export surges tend to be associated with lower post-acceleration unemployment and income inequality.
Sriram Balasubramanian and Mr. Paul Cashin
This paper examines the origins and use of the concept of Gross National Happiness (or subjective well-being) in the Kingdom of Bhutan, and the relationship between measured well-being and macroeconomic indicators. While there are only a few national surveys of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan, the concept has been used to guide public policymaking for the country’s various Five-Year Plans. Consistent with the Easterlin Paradox, available evidence indicates that Bhutan’s rapid increase in national income is only weakly associated with increases in measured levels of well-being. It will be important for Bhutan to undertake more frequent Gross National Happiness surveys and evaluations, to better build evidence for comovement of well-being and macroeconomic concepts such as real national income.
Ms. Natasha X Che
Uruguay experienced one of its biggest economic booms in history during 2004-2014. Since then, growth has come down significantly. The paper investigates the various causes of the boom and discusses the sustainability of these causes. It then compares Uruguay against high-growth countries that were once at a similar income level, across a broad set of structural indicators, to identify priority reform areas that could improve long-term growth prospect.
Mr. Paulo Drummond and Miss Estelle X Liu
The rapid growth in China’s domestic investment in recent decades has generated a large appetite for global goods, including from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This paper estimates the impact of changes in China’s investment growth on SSA’s exports. Although rising trading links with China have allowed African countries to diversify their export base across countries, away from advanced economies, they have also led SSA countries to become more susceptible to spillovers from China. Based on panel data analysis, a 1 percentage point increase (decline) in China’s domestic investment growth is associated with an average 0.6 percentage point increase (decline) in SSA countries’ export growth. This impact is larger for resource-rich countries, especially oil exporters. These effects could be mitigated, however, to the extent that countries can reorient their exports.