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27 января 2014, 09:00

Does growth generate jobs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia ?

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In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the link from growth to jobs was tenuous in the first decade of the transition, giving rise to the notion of jobless growth. Yet, European countries suffered large job losses during the recent recession, suggesting that jobs and growth are closely entwined. This study takes a new look at this issue. It provides a cross-country analysis of the employment intensity of growth over the last decade and a half in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which includes the 11 Central and Eastern European countries that joined the EU since 2004, the countries of former Yugoslavia, the Countries of Independent States and Turkey. The authors compare these findings with other regions in the world. The paper shows that the responsiveness of employment to output increased in the second decade of the transition. It also finds that in some instances employment growth increases with reforms of labor and product markets, stronger macroeconomic policy frameworks, better governance, and more economic integration and diversification.

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27 января 2014, 09:00

Imports of intermediate inputs and country size

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The paper analyzes the relationship between country size and the use of imported intermediate inputs by firms in 76 developing countries. Recent evidence indicates that the use of imported inputs can have a large, positive effect on productivity and growth, thus motivating a better understanding of the determinants of foreign inputs. The results confirm that, as is the case with exports, use of imported intermediate inputs is much higher at the extensive and intensive margins in small relative to large countries. The results for imported inputs are comparable in magnitude with those for exports.

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23 января 2014, 09:00

Trade policy instruments over time

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This paper surveys political-economic research on the variety of instruments that governments use to conduct international trade policy. It presents key insights on the relationships between instruments such as tariffs, quotas, voluntary export restraints, and other nontariff barriers, as well as the ebb and flow of the national use of temporary trade barriers such as antidumping, countervailing duties, and safeguards. The survey examines trends in use of these trade policy instruments over recent history; and it reviews the major theoretical and empirical explanations behind, and interrelationships between, their uses. Finally, the paper highlights potential institutional impacts of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and subsequent World Trade Organization (WTO) on choice of policy instruments, as well as how multilateral, unilateral, and preferential tariff liberalization may introduce political-economic shocks and affect incentives over time for how governments rely on different instruments.

22 января 2014, 09:00

Structural change in Ethiopia : an employment perspective

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This paper investigates whether the Ethiopian economy is undergoing a virtuous process of structural change. In particular, it assesses the relative contributions of within-sector and between-sector productivity to output per capita growth. Based on data disaggregated into eight sectors for the period 1996-2011, the analysis suggests that the structure of output has changed considerably -- predominantly from agriculture to services -- but changes in the composition of employment have lagged behind. Labor productivity growth has been strong across most sectors, albeit mainly driven by within-sector productivity improvements. Nonetheless, the pace of structural change is accelerating and its relative contribution to output growth is increasing.

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22 января 2014, 09:00

Ride the wild surf : an investigation of the drivers of surges in capital inflows

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Over the past 15 years, gross inflows to industrial and developing countries have enjoyed a wild ride. After reaching record highs in the run-up to the global financial crisis, they collapsed dramatically in 2008-09. As signs of global recovery reappeared, capital inflows resumed although at different speeds. The recovery in flows was faster and sharper in developing countries. This paper aims at understanding the (domestic and external) drivers of these surges in gross inflows using quarterly data for 67 countries from 1975 to 2010. It finds that domestic and external factors have significant explanatory power in driving surges of inflows. This finding holds for the sample of industrial countries whereas domestic factors play a significantly larger role in explaining surges to developing countries. Zooming into the findings shows that: (a) financial booms tend to attract massive capital inflows, (b) surges to either industrial or developing countries are driven by regional contagion, and (c) strong growth and natural resource abundance are keys to attract inflows of foreign capital into developing countries.

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22 января 2014, 09:00

Economic growth in Ghana : determinants and prospect

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This paper employs a simple cross-country panel framework to assess the determinants of growth in Ghana's gross domestic product over the past four decades. A set of standard covariates is used to explain growth rates. Natural resource variables are included because the effects of natural resource rents in gross domestic products are of particular interest for Ghana. Using the preferred specification, Ghana's growth potential is predicted for the upcoming decades under different scenarios. The results indicate that under the most pessimistic scenario of no improvements in the determinants of growth compared with the period 2005-09, Ghana's gross domestic product per capita growth rates will stagnate at approximately 4.5 percent during the next decade and decrease thereafter. If the policy measures and country characteristics improve in the way they did in the past three decades, average per capita growth rates of roughly 5.5 percent could be reached during 2015-34. Taking into account the expected oil production until 2034 adds 0.6 percentage points to projected gross domestic product growth rates on average.

22 января 2014, 09:00

Tapering talk : the impact of expectations of reduced federal reserve security purchases on emerging markets

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In May 2013, Federal Reserve officials first began to talk of the possibility of tapering their security purchases. This tapering talk had a sharp negative impact on emerging markets. Different countries, however, were affected very differently. This paper uses data on exchange rates, foreign reserves and equity prices between April and August 2013 to analyze who was hit and why. It finds that emerging markets that allowed the real exchange rate to appreciate and the current account deficit to widen during the prior period of quantitative easing saw the sharpest impact. Better fundamentals (the budget deficit, the public debt, the level of reserves, or the rate of economic growth) did not provide insulation. A more important determinant of the differential impact was the size of the country's financial market: countries with larger markets experienced more pressure on the exchange rate, foreign reserves, and equity prices. This is interpreted as showing that investors are better able to rebalance their portfolios when the target country has a relatively large and liquid financial market.

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16 января 2014, 09:00

Financial sector policy in practice : benchmarking financial sector strategies around the world

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Policy makers use financial sector strategies to formulate a holistic policy for their national financial sectors. This paper examines and rates financial sector strategies around the world based on how well they formulate development targets, arrangements for systemic risk management, and implementation plans. The strategies are also rated on whether they consider policy trade-offs between financial development and systemic risk management. The rated strategies are then benchmarked against a wide range of country characteristics. The analysis finds that the scope and quality of national strategies for the financial sector are influenced by the country's type of legal system, its level of income and macroeconomic stability, the existing financial depth and inclusion, the share of foreign ownership in the national financial sector, and the experience of past financial crises. Giving due consideration to policy trade-offs, particularly between financial development and systemic risk management, remains the weakest part of these strategies. Countries with civil- and religious-based law and those with a higher share of foreign ownership in their financial system address the policy trade-offs more often.

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14 января 2014, 09:00

Impact of export destinations on firm performance

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This paper evaluates the role of export destinations on productivity, employment, and wages of Turkish firms by comparing the performance of firms that export to low-income destinations and high-income destinations with firms that do not export. A combination of propensity score matching and difference-in-differences methods are employed on a rich set of firm observables, including sector, region, employment, total factor productivity (TFP), capital intensity, wages, support from government, ownership, and the research and development intensity of firms. Four sets of findings emerge from the analysis: i) Export entry has a positive causal effect on firm TFP and employment and this effect is strengthened as a firm continues to export. ii) In contrast, export entry has a moderate wage effect that emerges only with a lag. iii) Unlike exporting to high-income destinations, exporting to low-income destinations does not result in significantly higher firm TFP and wages. iv) The employment effect of exporting to low-income destinations is comparable to that of exporting to high-income destinations.

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08 января 2014, 09:00

Evaluating aid for trade : a survey of recent studies

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The demand for accountability in aid-for-trade is increasing but monitoring has focused on case studies and impressionistic narratives. The paper reviews recent evidence from a wide range of studies, recognizing that a multiplicity of approaches is needed to learn what works and what does not. The review concludes that there is some support for the emphasis on reducing trade costs through investments in hard infrastructure (like ports and roads) and soft infrastructure (like customs). But failure to implement complementary reform -- especially the introduction of competition in transport services -- may erode the benefits of these investments. Direct support to exporters does seem to lead to diversification across products and destinations, but it is not yet clear that these benefits are durable. In general, it is difficult to rely on cross-country studies to direct aid-for-trade. More rigorous impact evaluation is an underutilized alternative, but situations of clinical interventions in trade are rare and adverse incentives (because of agency problems) and costs (because of the small size of project) are a hurdle in implementation.

06 января 2014, 09:00

Is extreme poverty going to end ? an analytical framework to evaluate progress in ending extreme poverty

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The World Bank has recently adopted a target of reducing the proportion of population living below US$1.25 a day at 2005 international prices to 3 percent by 2030. This paper reviews different projection methods and estimates the global poverty rate of 2030 modifying Ravallion (2013)'s approach in that it introduces country-specific economic and population growth rates and takes into account the effect of changes in within-country inequality. This paper then identifies key obstacles to meeting the target and proposes a simple intermediate growth target under which the global poverty rate can be reduced to 3 percent by 2030. The findings of the analysis lend support to Basu (2013)'s argument that accelerating growth is not enough and sharing prosperity within and across countries is essential to end extreme poverty in one generation.

06 января 2014, 09:00

Is extreme poverty going to end ? an analytical framework to evaluate progress in ending extreme poverty

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The World Bank has recently adopted a target of reducing the proportion of population living below US$1.25 a day at 2005 international prices to 3 percent by 2030. This paper reviews different projection methods and estimates the global poverty rate of 2030 modifying Ravallion (2013)'s approach in that it introduces country-specific economic and population growth rates and takes into account the effect of changes in within-country inequality. This paper then identifies key obstacles to meeting the target and proposes a simple intermediate growth target under which the global poverty rate can be reduced to 3 percent by 2030. The findings of the analysis lend support to Basu (2013)'s argument that accelerating growth is not enough and sharing prosperity within and across countries is essential to end extreme poverty in one generation.