nep-tra New Economics Papers
on Transition Economics
Issue of 2007‒01‒13
fourteen papers chosen by
J. David Brown
Heriot-Watt University

  1. Does services liberalization benefit manufacturing firms ? Evidence from the Czech Republic By Arnold, Jens; Javorcik, Beata S.; Mattoo, Aaditya
  2. Measuring the Impacts of FDI in Central and Eastern Europe By Robert E. Lipsey
  3. An Essay on Economic Reforms and Social Change in China By Lindbeck, Assar
  4. Imports and Productivity By Laszlo Halpern; Miklos Koren; Adam Szeidl
  5. Manufacturing, Increasing Returns and Economic Development in China, 1979-2004: A Kaldorian Approach By Yongbok Jeon
  6. The Role of Education in Economic Growth through the Sectoral Reallocation of Labor By Soohyung Lee
  7. Reform of the intergovernmental transfer system in China By Shah, Anwar; Shen, Chunli
  8. Economic Reform, Growth and Convergence in China By Maasoumi, Esfandiar; Wang, Le
  9. How Likely are Macroeconomic Crises in the CIS? By Christian Bauer; Bernhard Herz; Volker Karb
  10. Poverty, Inequality and Policy Affecting Vulnerable Groups in Moldova By Giovanni Andrea Cornia; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  11. Current Account Reversals and Long Term Imbalances: Application to the Central and Eastern European Countries By Kenza Benhima; Olena Havrylchyk
  12. Are there lasting impacts of aid to poor areas ? Evidence from rural China By Chen, Shaohua; Mu, Ren; Ravallion, Martin
  13. China's Changing Energy Intensity Trend: A Decomposition Analysis By Chunbo Ma; David I. Stern
  14. The Renminbi's Dollar Peg at the Crossroads By Maurice Obstfeld

  1. By: Arnold, Jens; Javorcik, Beata S.; Mattoo, Aaditya
    Abstract: While there is considerable empirical evidence on the impact of liberalizing trade in goods, the effects of services liberalization have not been empirically established. Using firm-level data from the Czech Republic for the period 1998-2003, this study examines the link between services sector reforms and the productivity of domestic firms in downstream manufacturing. Several aspects of services reform are considered and measured, namely, the increased presence of foreign providers, privatization, and enhanced competition. The manufacturing-services linkage is measured using information on the degree to which manufacturing firms in a particular industry rely on intermediate inputs from specific services sectors. The econometric results lead to two conclusions. First, the study finds that services policy matters for the productivity of manufacturing firms relying on services inputs. This finding is robust to several econometric specifications, including controlling for unobservable firm heterogeneity and for other aspects of openness. Second, it finds evidence that opening services sectors to foreign providers is a key channel through which services liberalization contributes to improved performance of downstream manufacturing sectors. This finding is robust to instrumenting for the extent of foreign presence in services industries. As most barriers to foreign investment today are not in goods but in services sectors, the findings may strengthen the argument for reform in this area.
    Keywords: Banks & Banking Reform,Knowledge Economy,Education for the Knowledge Economy,Economic Theory & Research,Commodities
    Date: 2007–01–01
  2. By: Robert E. Lipsey
    Abstract: The impacts of inward FDI on host countries are frequently studied using balance-of-payments based measures of flows and stocks. These are unreliable for the purpose because, while theories of the effects of investment are based on FDI production and employment in the host country, these measures are often distorted approximations of the location of real activity. The mismeasurement is particularly important if trade openness, often associated with FDI, is treated as a control variable. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe, a very minor object of US direct investment, have, since 1990, become a major location for FDI from Europe, especially from Germany. The investments from both the US and Germany are, on average, very labor-intensive, and are heavily concentrated in Motor Vehicles. One result has been a shift in the export comparative advantage of these countries toward the machinery and transport equipment sector. Microdata studies in the CEE countries have found that foreign participation is associated with higher productivity in the affiliates themselves. Spillovers to indigenous firms are more spotty, clearer to upstream suppliers than to firms in the same industries as the affiliates.
    JEL: F21 F23
    Date: 2006–12
  3. By: Lindbeck, Assar (Research Institute of Industrial Economics)
    Abstract: This paper applies a systems-oriented, “holistic” approach to China’s radical economic reforms during the last quarter of a century. It characterizes China’s economic reforms in terms of a multidimensional classification of economic systems. When looking at the economic consequences of China’s change of economic system, I deal with both the impressive growth performance and its economic costs. I also study the consequences of the economic reforms for the previous social arrangements in the country, which were tied to individual work units: agriculture communes, collective firms and state-owned enterprises. I continue with the social development during the reform period, reflecting a complex mix of social advances, mainly in terms of poverty reduction, and regress for large population groups in terms of income security and human services, such as education and, in particular, health care. Next, I discuss Chinas future policy options in the social field, whereby I draw heavily on relevant experiences in developed countries over the years. The future options are classified into three broad categories: policies influencing the level and distribution of factor income, income transfers including social insurance, and the provision of human services.
    Keywords: China; Transition Economies; Social Insurance; Human Services
    JEL: I18 I19 I38 O53 P30
    Date: 2006–12–06
  4. By: Laszlo Halpern (Macroeconomics Institute of Economics of Hungarian Academy of Sciences); Miklos Koren; Adam Szeidl
    Abstract: What is the effect of imports on productivity? To answer this question, we estimate a structural model of producers using product-level import data for a panel of Hungarian manufacturing firms from 1992 to 2001. In our model with heterogenous firms, producers choose to import or purchase domestically varieties of intermediate inputs. Imports affect firm productivity through expanding variety as well as improved input quality. The model leads to a production function where the total factor productivity of a firm depends on the share of inputs imported. To estimate this import-augmented production function, we extend the Olley and Pakes (1996) procedure for a setting with an additional state variable, the number of input varieties imported. Our results suggest that the role of imports is both statistically and economically significant. Imports are responsible for 30% of the growth in aggregate total factor productivity in Hungary during the 1990s. About 50% of this effect is through imports advancing firm level productivity, while the remaining 50% comes from the reallocation of capital and labor to importers.
    Keywords: imports, intermediate inputs, productivity
    JEL: F12 F14 L25
    Date: 2006–12–03
  5. By: Yongbok Jeon
    Abstract: The aim of this study is to empirically test the validity of the Kaldorian approach to growth and development in China during its reform period of 1979-2004. In order to obtain robust results, both time-series and regional panel data formats are used. The present study finds from both data sets that the Kaldorian hypotheses about economic growth are valid in China during the reform period.
    Keywords: Economic growth in China, Kaldor’s Laws, increasing returns to scale, manufacturing industry
    JEL: O11 O14 O53 E12
    Date: 2006–08
  6. By: Soohyung Lee
    Abstract: The main questions of this paper are as follows: Whether and to what extent does rising educational attainment contribute to a country's economic growth by facilitating the reallocation of labor from the agricultural sector to the non-agricultural sector? The transition from the agricultural sector to the non-agricultural sector ("transition" hereinafter) is an important aspect of a country's development. Consider China as an example. In China, around 70% of the labor force worked in the agricultural sector in 1980, whereas only 47% remained in the agricultural sector in 2000. Over the same period of time, China's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita increased from U.S. $173 to $856. In addition, cross-country data demonstrate that developed countries have a lower share of employment in agriculture than less-developed countries. For instance, high income countries had 4% of their employees engaged in the agricultural sector in 2000, whereas middle income countries had 40% of their employees working in the agricultural sector. In low income countries, the share may be even larger: in Bangladesh, for example, more than 60% of employees work in the agricultural sector. Based on these empirical observations, using calibration exercises a number of papers have demonstrated the possibility that income differences across countries can be explained by different onsets of transition (Gollin et al. 2002, 2004, Parente et al. 2000, Restuccia et al. 2003). In contrast, there is little empirical research based on micro-level data studying the factors that affect the speed of transition. As far as I am aware, the most closely related empirical study of transition was carried out by Jeong and Kim (2005) using data for Thailand. However, the authors focused more on replicating gradual transition than on determinants governing the speed of transition. They relied on the assumption of “sector specific complementarity between work-experience and labor†to explain the slow transition, but did not provide direct empirical evidence for this assumption. In contrast to existing research, this paper tries to shed light on one hypothesized factor affecting the speed of transition: raising educational attainment may facilitate the labor force moving from the agricultural sector to the non-agricultural sector. I use a Chinese household panel dataset--the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS)--to measure the extent to which educational attainment raises the probability of a worker obtaining a non-agricultural job. To extract the causal effect of education, I use the increase in the number of secondary schools during the Cultural Revolution (CR) in China (1966 to 1976) as an instrumental variable. Reducing the differences between the peasantry and the rest of the population was identified as being a major goal of the CR; as a result of this ideology, the policies of this period promoted mass education among underserved groups, including rural populations especially in terms of the secondary schooling (Hannum 1999). My preliminary results suggest that one more secondary school per 10,000 people in a province is correlated with an increase in 1.15 years of schooling. Using a Probit model with this instrumental variable, I estimate that one more year of schooling raises the probability a worker will obtain a non-agricultural job by 4.53%. However, what does this estimation imply for transition and aggregate economic growth? In China, the share employed in agriculture has decreased from 68.1% in 1982 to 50% in 2000 (Chinese Statistical Yearbook, 2003). On the other hand, the average years of schooling of workers in China has increased from 5.83 years to 7.66 years (Chinese Population Census 1982, 2000). Hence, this increase in schooling, 1.84 years, may have contributed 8.34% points to the decrease in the agricultural share of employment from 1982 to 2000. In terms of the real GDP growth, accurate growth accounting requires further study. However, a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the decrease in the agricultural employment share due to rising educational attainment implies an increase of 0.65% points of the real GDP per worker growth per annum. Although the growth and level accounting remains to be done, I believe that this paper can contribute to the economic growth literature by testing whether and to what extent education causes growth. Within this research literature, many papers have suggested the possibility of a causal effect of education on growth, but a recent study by Bils and Klenow (2000) questions this causal relationship. For example, if we include the role of education in sectoral reallocation (0.65% point), the contribution of education to the annual growth rate of the real GDP per worker increases from about 20% to 32%. Therefore, we can conclude that education causes growth (at least 12%) and that its contribution to growth is significant
    Keywords: Education; Sectoral Shift; Transition; China
    JEL: O1 O5 I2 J6
    Date: 2006–12–03
  7. By: Shah, Anwar; Shen, Chunli
    Abstract: In China, most of the service delivery responsibilities are assigned to the subnational governments. Yet for reasons of efficiency in tax collection and administration, the central government collects revenues far in excess of its expenditure needs. In 2003 the central government collected 70 percent of consolidated revenues but accounted for only 30 percent of consolidated expenditures. The initial fiscal surplus of the central government enables it to use its spending power to provide financing to subnational jurisdictions for the achievement of national objectives and to influence local priorities. This paper examines the incentives associated with the design of such transfers and their implications for the efficiency and equity of public service provision and accountable local governance in China. The paper argues that the existing design of such transfers is not consistent with efficiency and equity considerations. It further undermines local autonomy without enhancing local accountability while creating incentives for imprudent fiscal management. Its main limitations include a complex and opaque system, a piecemeal approach to gap filling, lack of consistency of design with objectives, focus on input controls without regard for output accountability, incentives to support an antiquated management paradigm, a one-size-fits-all approach to local financing, and lack of transparency and regulatory framework for the intergovernmental transfer system. The paper makes specific suggestions on a reform of this system to overcome these limitations and on better use of fiscal transfers to create responsive, responsible, equitable, and accountable local governance in China.
    Keywords: Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations and Local Finance Management,Regional Governance,Public & Municipal Finance,Urban Economics,Public Sector Management and Reform
    Date: 2006–12–01
  8. By: Maasoumi, Esfandiar (SMU); Wang, Le (SMU)
    Abstract: In this paper, we propose a new concept of convergence which is based on the metric entropy measure recently proposed by Granger et al. (2004) to investigate economic convergence in China. This entropy measure compares whole distributions of growth rates across individual provinces. Separately, based on this same entropy measure, we also implement cluster analysis to identify any convergence clubs. Our four main conclusions are: (1) while we certainly reject the null hypothesis that there exists a nation-wide convergence, we do ?nd that there exist convergence clubs for both the pre- and post-reform periods, (2) we ?nd a number of very small convergence clubs. In particular, there are seven and ?ve convergence clubs for the pre- and post-reform periods, respectively. (3) in comparing the number and size of convergence clubs for both the pre- and post-reform periods, it could be argued that the extent of convergence is more prevalent during the post-reform period than during the pre-reform period, (4) convergence groups cannot be characterized by such unique features as region or the extent of policy preference level that are com- monly used in the literature.
    Keywords: convergence, growth, entropy, China, cluster analysis
    JEL: F18 Q4
    Date: 2006–03
  9. By: Christian Bauer; Bernhard Herz; Volker Karb
    Abstract: Building on a benchmark sample of 78 middle-income countries and based on generalized linear model (glm) estimations we assess the risk of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine to experience currency and / or debt crises as other emerging market economies have repeatedly done before. We find that as a result of their current fiscal and monetary situation these countries face a low but not negligible risk of currency crises. Furthermore, there is also a rather low but not negligible risk of debt crises in all four countries. The risk of twin currency and debt crises is virtually zero in all four countries. In addition to these probability estimations based on the countries’ current situation, our analysis also shows that it is essential for all four countries to avoid worsening economic fundamentals as especially an increase in their debt to GDP ratios would very rapidly increase the risk of debt and / or twin crises to serious levels in all countries.
    Keywords: Currency crisis, debt crisis, panel data, developing countries, CIS
    JEL: F31 F33 F34 F41
    Date: 2005–02
  10. By: Giovanni Andrea Cornia; UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the changes that have intervened in the field of income poverty and human poverty since the onset of the transition in Moldova. With a biblical contraction of GDP, a fast rise in inequality, a drop in social expenditure and a weakening of civil society, most indicators of income poverty and human poverty deteriorated sharply since 1991. A clear improvement is evident since 2001, but most indicators of wellbeing still have to recover their pre-transition levels. There is some scope for social and macroeconomic policy to help reducing the negative inheritance of the first ten years of transition. Macroeconomic policy is rather deflationary, and keeps aggregate growth below what is needed to eradicate poverty quickly while paying little attention to its impact on inequality. There is room therefore to place greater emphasis on an equitable pro-poor growth characterized by greater investment in agriculture and higher overall employment intensity, as well as a better allocation of migrant remittances and stronger social policies.
    Keywords: Child Poverty; Education; Family Policies; Social Policies;; Baltic States; Moldova;
    JEL: J13
    Date: 2006
  11. By: Kenza Benhima; Olena Havrylchyk
    Abstract: In our study we investigate the evolution of short-term and long-term external positions in the CEECs and make an attempt at predicting their future paths. First, we analyze the long term relationship between net foreign assets and a set of explanatory variables and construct a measure of imbalances which equals the deviation of net foreign assets from their equilibrium level. Later we incorporate this measure in our prediction of current account reversals and compare the forecasts of this model with the baseline model that does not account for this disequilibrium measure. We show that the inclusion of stock disequilibrium measures improves the model’s performance in and out-of-sample. By doing this, we fill the gap in the literature on external sustainability, which despite the recent emphasis on stock adjustment (Calderon et al., 2000, Lane and Milesi-Ferretti, 2001), has not yet assessed the effectiveness of stocks in predicting sudden current account reversals. Finally, we apply this methodology to the CEECs. We find that net foreign assets lie below their long-term equilibrium level in all countries except Slovenia and Baltic States, but we predict current account reversals only for Hungary and Estonia.
    Keywords: Current account deficits, current account reversals, net foreign assets
    JEL: F21 F32
    Date: 2006–12
  12. By: Chen, Shaohua; Mu, Ren; Ravallion, Martin
    Abstract: The paper revisits the site of a large, World Bank-financed, rural development program in China 10 years after it began and four years after disbursements ended. The program emphasized community participation in multi-sectoral interventions (including farming, animal husbandry, infrastructure and social services). Data were collected on 2,000 households in project and nonproject areas, spanning 10 years. A double-difference estimator of the program ' s impact (on top of pre-existing governmental programs) reveals sizeable short-term income gains that were mostly saved. Only modest gains to mean consumption emerged in the longer term-in rough accord with the gain to permanent income. Certain types of households gained more than others. The educated poor were under-covered by the community-based selection process-greatly reducing overall impact. The main results are robust to corrections for various sources of selection bias, including village targeting and interference due to spillover effects generated by the response of local governments to the external aid.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Poverty Monitoring & Analysis,Economic Theory & Research,Poverty Impact Evaluation,Social Accountability
    Date: 2006–12–01
  13. By: Chunbo Ma (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA); David I. Stern (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA)
    Abstract: China experienced a dramatic decline in energy intensity from the onset of economic reform in the late 1970s until 2000, but since then rate of decline slowed and energy intensity actually increased in 2003. Most previous studies found that most of the decline was due to technological change, but disagreed on the role of structural change. To the best of our knowledge, no decomposition study has investigated the role of inter-fuel substitution in the decline in energy intensity or the causes of the rise in energy intensity since 2000. In this paper, we use logarithmic mean Divisia index (LMDI) techniques to decompose changes in energy intensity in the period 1980-2003. We find that: (1) technological change is confirmed as the dominant contributor to the decline in energy intensity; (2) structural change at the industry and sector (sub-industry) level actually increased energy intensity over the period of 1980-2003, although the structural change at the industry level was very different in the 1980s and in the post 1990 period; (3) structural change involving shifts of production between sub-sectors, however, decreased overall energy intensity; (4) the increase in energy intensity since 2000 is explained by negative technological progress; (5) inter-fuel substitution is found to contribute little to the changes in energy intensity.
    JEL: Q43
    Date: 2006–12
  14. By: Maurice Obstfeld (University of California, Berkeley)
    Abstract: In the face of huge balance of payments surpluses and internal inflationary pressures, China has been in a classic conflict between internal and external balance under its dollar currency peg. Over the longer term, China's large, modernizing, and diverse economy will need exchange rate flexibility and, eventually, convertibility with open capital markets. A feasible and attractive exit strategy from the essentially fixed RMB exchange rate would be a two-stage approach, consistent with the steps already taken since July 2005, but going beyond them. First, establish a limited trading band for the RMB relative to a basket of major trading partner currencies. Set the band so that it allows some initial revaluation of the RMB against the dollar, manage the basket rate within the band if necessary, and widen the band over time as domestic foreign exchange markets develop. Second, put on hold ad hoc measures of financial account liberalization. They will be less helpful for relieving exchange rate pressures once the RMB/basket rate is allowed to move flexibly within a band, and they are best postponed until domestic foreign exchange markets develop further, the exchange rate is fully flexible, and the domestic financial system has been strengthened and placed on a market-oriented basis.
    Keywords: Renminbi, China currency, China balance of payments, fixed exchange rate exit strategy,
    Date: 2006–07–11

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