nep-tra New Economics Papers
on Transition Economics
Issue of 2009‒01‒31
29 papers chosen by
J. David Brown
Heriot-Watt University

  1. Russian federalism and post-Soviet integration: Divergence of development paths By Libman, Alexander
  2. Gradualism and the evolution of the financial structure in China By Sau Lino
  3. Decomposition of Economic and Productivity Growth in Post-reform China. By Kui-Wai Li; Tung Liu; Lihong Yun
  4. Catching-up and inflation in transition economies: the Balassa-Samuelson effect revisited By Dubravko Mihaljek; Marc Klau
  5. China’s Energy Situation and Its Implications in the New Millennium By Hengyun Ma; Les Oxley; John Gibson
  6. Labor Market Participation: The Impact of Social Benefits in the Czech Republic By Kamila Fialová; Martina Mysíková
  7. Evidences of the Intensity of the Balassa-Samuelson Phenomenon in the Romanian Economy By Altar, Moisa; Albu, Lucian Liviu; Dumitru, Ionut; Necula, Ciprian
  8. The pollution haven hypothesis : a geographic economy model in a comparative study. By Sonia Ben Kheder; Natalia Zugravu
  9. Migration in an Enlarged EU: A Challenging Solution? By Kahanec, Martin; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
  10. Does Deposit Insurance Improve Financial Intermediation? Evidence from the Russian Experiment By Chernykh, Lucy; Rebel, Cole
  11. Estimation of Equilibrium Real Exchange Rate and of Deviations for Romania By Altar, Moisa; Albu, Lucian Liviu; Dumitru, Ionut; Necula, Ciprian
  12. Asymmetric Information and Loan Spreads in Russia: Evidence from Syndicated Loans By Zuzana Fungacova; Christophe J. Godlewski; Laurent Weill
  13. A gendered approach to temporary labour migration and cultural norms. Evidence from Romania. By Raluca Prelipceanu
  14. Real Economic Convergence By Iancu, Aurel
  15. How Far From the Euro Area? Measuring Convergence of Inflation Rates in Eastern Europe By Bettina Becker; Stephen G. Hall
  16. Institutional Convergence By Iancu, Aurel
  17. Measuring Convergence of the New Member Countries’ Exchange Rates to the Euro By Bettina Becker; Stephen G. Hall
  18. Migration and Trade: Theory with an Application to the Eastern-Western European Integration By Susana Iranzo; Giovanni Peri
  19. Do Economic, Financial and Institutional Developments Matter for Environmental Degradation? Evidence from Transitional Economies By Tamazian, Artur; Rao, B. Bhaskara
  20. The multinational companies - an institutional response to the changes in the technological market By Corduneanu , Carmen; Iovu, Laura Raisa
  21. Issues on the contribution of the accountancy profession to enhancing the quality of the environment business in Romania By Bunget, Ovidiu-Constantin
  22. Intangible Assets and Intellectual Capital as Key Factors of Romania’s Convergence By Suciu, Marta Cristina
  23. Extended Gravity Panel Data Model of Polish Foreign Trade By Tomasz Brodzicki
  24. China's Current Account and Exchange Rate By Yin-Wong Cheung; Menzie D. Chinn; Eiji Fujii
  25. Which Households Are Most Distant from Health Centers in Rural China? Evidence from a GIS Network Analysis By John Gibson; Xiangzheng Deng; Geua Boe-Gibson; Scott Rozelle; Jikun Huang
  26. Trade Liberalization in the South East Europe Effects and Controversial Issues By Ljiljana Pjerotic
  27. Cost Competitiveness of Chinese and Finnish Chemical Industries By Enjing Li; Paavo Suni; Yanyun Zhao
  28. Emerging innovation modes and (regional) innovation systems in the Czech Republic By Pavla Zizalova
  29. Stuck Between Surplus and Shortage : Demand for Skills in the Russian Industry By V. Gimpelson; R. Kapeliushnikov; A. Lukiyanova

  1. By: Libman, Alexander
    Abstract: The paper compares the development of two institutional systems organizing the intergovernmental relations in the former Soviet Union: Russian federalism and post-Soviet regional integration. In spite of common origins, random selections of actors and common development trends in the first decade of their existence, in the 2000s both systems experienced significant divergence. The paper discusses the interaction of four factors explaining differences in the development of post-Soviet integration and Russian federalism: formal vs. informal nature of political property rights of elites; impact of economic asymmetry on political bargaining; role of (potential) federal political arena in terms of interests of territorial elites; and impact of large business groups. It also addresses direct links between the centralization in Russia and the regional integration in the post-Soviet space.
    Keywords: post-Soviet integration; Russian federalism; decentralization
    JEL: F15 H77
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Sau Lino (University of Turin)
    Abstract: In this paper we set out to show that China has certain significant specificities in terms of the gradual (i.e. “step by step”) approach it has followed in implementing reforms affecting its financial system. This is in contrast with the traditional shock or “big bang” therapy adopted by other emerging or transition countries, on the basis of what is known as the Washington Consensus, which notoriously prescribes the immediate, wholesale introduction of market-oriented systems through large-scale liberalisations and privatizations. Nevertheless, as we will endeavour to demonstrate the process of reform of China’s financial system has not prevented problems of financial fragility from arising in the banking sector, and of corporate governance for firms, such as to threaten the very sustainability of growth in the future.
    Date: 2009–01
  3. By: Kui-Wai Li (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR); Tung Liu (Department of Economics, Ball State University); Lihong Yun (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR)
    Abstract: This paper examines and applies the theoretical foundation of the decomposition of economic and productivity growth to the thirty provinces in China’s post-reform economy. The four attributes of economic growth are input growth, adjusted economies of scale effect, technical progress, and efficiency growth. A stochastic frontier model is used to estimates the growth attributes, and a human capital variable is incorporated in the translog production function. The empirical results show that input growth is the major contributor to economic growth and human capital is inadequate even though it has a positive and significant effect on growth. Technical progress is the main contributor to productivity growth and the scale economies has become important in recent years, but technical efficiency has edged downwards in the sample period. The relevant policy implication for a sustainable post-reform China economy is the need to promote human capital accumulation and improvement in technical efficiency.
    Keywords: technical progress, technical efficiency, economies of scale, human capital, China economy
    JEL: C2 D24 O4 O53
    Date: 2008–12
  4. By: Dubravko Mihaljek; Marc Klau
    Abstract: This paper estimates the Balassa-Samuelson effects for 11 countries in central and eastern Europe on a disaggregated set of quarterly data covering the period from the mid-1990s to the first quarter of 2008. The Balassa-Samuelson effects are clearly present and explain around 24% of inflation differentials vis-à-vis the euro area (about 1.2 percentage points on average); and around 84% of domestic relative price differentials between non-tradables and tradables; or about 16% of total domestic inflation (about 1.1 percentage points on average). The paper presents mixed evidence on whether the Balassa-Samuelson effects have declined since 2001 compared with the second half of the 1990s.
    Keywords: Balassa-Samuelson effect, productivity, inflation, transition, convergence, European monetary union, Maastricht criteria
    Date: 2008–12
  5. By: Hengyun Ma; Les Oxley (University of Canterbury); John Gibson
    Abstract: Many are interested in China’s energy situation, however, numerous energy related issues in China still remain unanswered, for example, what are the potential forces driving energy demand and supply? Previous reviews focused only on fossil fuel based energy and ignored other important elements including renewable and ‘clean’ energy sources. The work presented here is intended to fill this gap by bringing the research on fossil-based and renewable energy economic studies together and identifying the potential drivers behind both energy demand and supply to provide a complete picture of China’s energy situation in the new millennium. This will be of interest to anyone concerned with the development of China’s economy in general and the energy economy, in particular.
    Keywords: China; Energy; Fossil fuels; Renewable Energy
    JEL: D24 O33 Q41
    Date: 2009–01–15
  6. By: Kamila Fialová (Komerční Banka, Prague; Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic); Martina Mysíková (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic; Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences, Prague)
    Abstract: This paper aims to quantify the impact of social benefits on labor market participation in the Czech Republic. It applies the logistic regression to estimate the probability of labor market participation depending on social benefits related to net wage of the individuals, controlling for individual and household characteristics (age, presence of spouse and children etc.). The work disincentives via social benefits do exist and proved to be relatively strong. When trying to understand the reasons for recently decreasing participation rate in the Czech Republic, the often called “generous” Czech social benefit system appears to be relevant.
    Keywords: inactivity trap, labor market participation, social benefits
    JEL: I38 J21
    Date: 2009–04
  7. By: Altar, Moisa; Albu, Lucian Liviu (Institute of Economic Forecasting); Dumitru, Ionut; Necula, Ciprian
    Abstract: The paper presents some results revealing the existence of the Balassa-Samuelson effect in Romania as well as some estimates of its impact on inflation, appreciation of the real exchange rate and rising competitiveness of the Romanian economy. * Study within the CEEX Programme – Project No. 220/2006 “Economic Convergence and Role of Knowledge in Relation to the EU Integration”; Instiutul European din Romania – PAIS III; Studiul nr. 2/2005.
    Keywords: Balassa-Samuelson effect, exchange rate, inflation, competitiveness
    JEL: F33 O23 O24 O47
    Date: 2009–01
  8. By: Sonia Ben Kheder (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Natalia Zugravu (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Although based on theoretical foundations, the pollution haven hypothesis stating that heterogenous environmental regulations between countries influence multinational firms' location decisions, has never been clearly proven empirically. In this study, we reexamine this hypothesis by a fresh take on both its theoretical and empirical aspects. While applying a geographic economy model on French firm-level data, we confirm the pollution haven hypothesis for a global sample. Through sensitivity analysis, we validate it for Central and Eastern European countries, emerging and high-income OECD countries, but not for the major part of the Commonwealth of Independent States countries. Finally, we show that the pollution haven hypothesis is confirmed in the strongest manner for emerging economies.
    Keywords: FDI, environmental regulation, economic geography, pollution haven hypothesis.
    JEL: F12 F18 Q28
    Date: 2008–04
  9. By: Kahanec, Martin (IZA); Zimmermann, Klaus F. (IZA, DIW Berlin and Bonn University)
    Abstract: The 2004 and 2007 enlargements of the European Union were unprecedented in a number of economic and policy aspects. This essay provides a broad and in-depth account of the effects of the post-enlargement migration flows on the receiving as well as sending countries in three broader areas: labour markets, welfare systems, and growth and competitiveness. Our analysis of the available literature and empirical evidence shows that (i) EU enlargement had a significant impact on migration flows from new to old member states, (ii) restrictions applied in some of the countries did not stop migrants from coming but changed the composition of the immigrants, (iii) any negative effects in the labour market on wages or employment are hard to detect, (iv) post-enlargement migration contributes to growth prospects of the EU, (v) these immigrants are strongly attached to the labour market, and (vi) they are quite unlikely to be among welfare recipients. These findings point out the difficulties that restrictions on the free movement of workers bring about.
    Keywords: migration, migration effects, EU Eastern enlargement, free movement of workers
    JEL: F22 J15 J61
    Date: 2008–12
  10. By: Chernykh, Lucy; Rebel, Cole
    Abstract: This study examines how the introduction of deposit insurance affects a banking system, using the deposit-insurance scheme introduced into the Russian banking system as a natural experiment. The fundamental research question is whether the introduction of deposit insurance leads to a more effective banking system as evidenced by increased deposit-taking and decreased reliance upon State-owned banks as custodians of retail deposits. We find that banks entering the new deposit-insurance system increased both their level of retail deposits and their ratios of retail deposits to total assets relative to banks that did not enter the new deposit insurance system. We also find that these results hold up in a multivariate panel-data analysis that controls for bank and time random effects. The longer a bank was entered into the deposit insurance system, the greater was its level of deposits and its ratio of deposits to assets. Moreover, this effect was stronger for regional banks and for smaller banks. Finally, we find that implementation of the new deposit-insurance system had the effect of “leveling the playing field” between State-owned banks and privately owned banks.
    Keywords: bank; deposit insurance; moral hazard; Russia; State-owned bank
    JEL: E58 G28 G21
    Date: 2009–01–15
  11. By: Altar, Moisa; Albu, Lucian Liviu (Institute of Economic Forecasting); Dumitru, Ionut; Necula, Ciprian
    Abstract: Equilibrium real exchange rate provides useful information on the harmonisation of convergence criteria with exchange rate stability criteria; a requirement for accession to the European Monetary Union. This study applies econometric procedures for identifying the equilibrium real exchange rate in Romania and its tendency. * Study within the CEEX Programme – Project No. 220/2006 “Economic Convergence and Role of Knowledge in Relation to the EU Integration”; Instiutul European din Romania – PAIS III; Studiul nr. 2/2005.
    Keywords: Capital account, exchange rate, European integration
    JEL: F33 F43 O23 O57
    Date: 2009–01
  12. By: Zuzana Fungacova; Christophe J. Godlewski (Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie, Université de Strasbourg); Laurent Weill (Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie, Université de Strasbourg)
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to investigate whether the participation of local banks exerts an impact on the spreads of syndicated loans in Russia. Following Berger, Klapper and Udell (2001), we aim to test whether local banks possess a superior ability to solve information asymmetries. In this aim, we use a sample of 528 syndicated loans to Russian borrowers. We perform regressions of the spread on a set of variables including information on the participation of local banks, loan and borrower characteristics. Unlike former papers, we consider separately foreign banks with and without a local presence, as this presence may influence their monitoring ability and their information. We observe no significant impact of the participation of local banks in syndicated loans on the spread. We also do not find any significant influence of the presence of domestic-owned banks or foreign-owned banks on the spread. Additional estimations considering subsamples for which information asymmetries are exacerbated provide similar results. Therefore our conclusion is that local banks do not benefit from an advantage in monitoring ability and in information in Russia.
    Keywords: Bank, Information asymmetry, Loan, Syndication, Russia.
    JEL: G21 P34
    Date: 2009
  13. By: Raluca Prelipceanu (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne et Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA))
    Abstract: This paper analyses the determinants of the Romanian temporary labour migration during the transition period. First of all, we build a househould level model in order to explain the decision to migrate in a couple. Then, by using a 10% sample of the Romanian 2002 Census we try to assess the importance of the gender bias for the migration decision. The main questions raised are "Do migration determinants differ according to gender ?" and "Do local norms influence the propensity to migrate of women and that of men ?". Our results prove the existence of important differences between the migration decision of men and that of women as well as the influence of cultural norms on gender roles on the latter's decision to migrate.
    Keywords: Temporary labour migration, gender inequality, household production, social norms.
    JEL: R23 J16 D13 O12
    Date: 2008–12
  14. By: Iancu, Aurel (Romanian Academy, National Institute of Economic Research)
    Abstract: Real convergence is an essential objective of Romania’s integration into the EU. Bridging the development gaps between Romania and the EU as soon as possible cannot be achieved exclusively through market forces, since they rather tend to cause divergence and polarization. For this purpose, special tools and mechanisms are required; e.g., cohesion. The study deals with the economic convergence of the European countries, and especially the convergence of the CEE countries, including Romania. Models are used to assess the economic growth, approximate the period of real convergence of Romania to the EU, as well as to estimate the σ- and σ-convergence, and the main shortcomings of the last indicator. * Study within the CEEX Programme – Project No. 220/2006 “Economic Convergence and Role of Knowledge in Relation to the EU Integration”.
    Keywords: real convergence, divergence, cohesion, club convergence, polarization, regression method, return to capital, σ-convergence, σ-convergence
    JEL: C21 E22 O41 O47
    Date: 2009–01
  15. By: Bettina Becker; Stephen G. Hall
    Abstract: We present a common factor framework of convergence which we implement using principal components analysis. We apply this technique to a dataset of monthly inflation rates of EMU and the Eastern European New Member Countries (NMC) over 1996-2007. In the earlier years, the NMC rates moved independently from an average of the three best performing countries over the past twelve months, while they moved somewhat closer in line with them in the later years. Looking at the sample of the EMU and NMC countries as a whole, there is evidence of a formation of convergence clubs across the two groups.
    Keywords: Convergence; inflation rates; European Monetary Union; principal components analysis
    JEL: C22 F31
    Date: 2009–01
  16. By: Iancu, Aurel (Romanian Academy, National Institute of Economic Research)
    Abstract: In this chapter, we describe the essence and role of the institutions in the modern economic systems, the main issues concerning the institutional convergence in relation to the EU integration, the institutional capital and the impact of the quality and effectiveness of the institutions on filling the economic gap between countries, in the context of the implementation of the European integration strategy. * Study within the CEEX Programme – Project No. 220/2006 “Economic Convergence and Role of Knowledge in Relation to the EU Integration”.
    Keywords: Rules, formal institutions, informal institutions, transaction cost, integration, acquis, compliance, institutional capital, regression
    JEL: F36 F59 O43
    Date: 2009–01
  17. By: Bettina Becker; Stephen G. Hall
    Abstract: We propose a common factor approach to analyse convergence, which we implement using principal components analysis. This technique has not been used to analyse convergence of time series but is shown to provide a useful new tool. We show how it is in many ways a more natural way of approaching the convergence debate. We apply these ideas to a dataset of bilateral Euro and US-Dollar exchange rates of the new member countries of the European Union. Our empirical application gives sensible results about the convergence process of the new member countries’ exchange rates to the Euro.
    Keywords: Convergence; exchange rates; transition economies; principal components analysis
    JEL: F31 C22
    Date: 2009–01
  18. By: Susana Iranzo (Universitat Rovira Virgili); Giovanni Peri (University of California, Davis and NBER)
    Abstract: The remarkable increase in trade flows and in migratory flows of highly educated people are two important features of globalization of the last decades. This paper extends a two-country model of inter- and intra-industry trade to a rich environment featuring technological differences, skill differences and the possibility of international labor mobility. The model is used to explain the patterns of trade and migration as countries remove barriers to trade and to labor mobility. We calibrate the model to match the features of the Western and Eastern European members of the EU and analyze first the effects of the trade liberalization which occurred between 1989 and 2004, and then the gains and losses from migration which would occur if barriers to labor mobility are reduced. The lower barriers to migration result in significant migration of skilled workers from Eastern European countries. Interestingly, this would not only benefit the migrants and most Western European workers but, via trade, it would also benefit the workers remaining in Eastern Europe.
    Date: 2009–01
  19. By: Tamazian, Artur; Rao, B. Bhaskara
    Abstract: Several studies have examined the relationship between environmental degradation and economic growth. However, most of them did not take into account financial developments and institutional quality. Moreover, Stern (2004) noted that there are important econometric weaknesses in the earlier studies, such as endogeneity, heteroscedasticity, omitted variables, etc. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap in the literature by investigating the linkage between not only economic development and environmental quality but also financial development and institutional quality. We employ the standard reduced-form modelling approach to control for country-specific unobserved heterogeneity and GMM estimation to control for endogeneity. Our study considers 24 transition economies and panel data for 1993-2004. Our results support the EKC hypothesis while confirming the importance of both institutional quality and financial development for environmental performance. We also found that financial liberalization may be harmful for environmental quality if it is not accomplished in a strong institutional framework.
    Keywords: Environmental Degradation; Economic Development; Financial Development; Institutional Quality; EKC.
    JEL: Q56 Q53 O13 P28
    Date: 2008–01–24
  20. By: Corduneanu , Carmen; Iovu, Laura Raisa
    Abstract: The globalization process, from both a temporal and locational point of view, has led to changes in the human interrelations, to the unification and expansion of economical activities over the regions and countries. The Romanian economy is depending strongly on the decisions made by large multinational companies that influence upon its integration in the international productive system. Setting up subsidiaries of these multinational companies in Romania is determined by cheap working factors, adaption of the production to the local market demand, penetration of the Romanian market and of the regional markets, an increase in the global effiency at the level of such multinational company. The cross-border inflows of foreign direct investments contribute to the technological transfer, to an increase of the productivity, a better allocation of capital, a significant increase in the exports and of the quality of the life. The foreign direct investments realized in Romania have led to a visible bettering of the country rating and of the economical performances. The technological transfers performed by multinational companies generate positive spillovers through the reduction of the productivity disparities, the accorded technical assistance, the continuous process of formation of the qualified personnel and managers. The mechanisms through which technological spillovers are realized, are represented not only by the foreign direct investments made by multinational companies, but also by the strategic alliances, licence buying, licence change and the assistance accorded by foreign counselors, foreign and local suppliers of new materials, products and equipments. Despite the fact that the process of taking over new technologies by Romanian firms depends mainly on the decision of multinational companies, the success of technological transfers depends on the efforts made in the direction of taking over, assimilation, and bettering these absorbed technologies, and also by the level of training of the personnel. To conclude with, the technological transfer traffic is not free within the multinational firms and far less, outside them. Consequently, the Romanian economy can beneficiate only by a part of the scientifical and technological know-how. This is kept and conducted by the multinational companies and controled by them. The capacity of absorbtion of the new technologies depends on the relations that multinational subsidiaries keep with the local research centres, the economical politics promoted by subsidiaries as far as concerns the recruitment and the profesional formation, the purchase of products realized from the local suppliers, the sales realized on the Romanian market, the state policies concerning the attraction of foreign direct investment and the help accorded to the research and industrial innovation. This dispersion of technologies generates a reallocation of the working places, productivity externalities for the Romanian companies, know-how, and some imitative processes regarding the formation strategies of employees from the multinational companies.
    Keywords: multinational companies; foreign direct investments; technological transfer
    JEL: F20 F23
    Date: 2008–05–01
  21. By: Bunget, Ovidiu-Constantin
    Abstract: To be able to assist in a credible business in our country accounting unit itself had to adapt on the one hand to the new trends of harmonization and standardization of existing on the international front, and on the other hand the new requirements of the environment business in the process of privatization, modernization, development of capital market and a free market economy. The accounts of Romania treated as such concepts European economy increasing capacity free accounts to achieve a representation of reality by using language uniform conferred by International Financial Reporting Standards. Accounting is heavily involved in the processes of regionalization and globalization, through adjustment and transformation of systems of national accounts into a single system, or at least one compatible with the internationally recognized. The current turbulence that occurs on the capital market require rapid decisions based on a transparent accounting information available in real time. If you already have a European accounting profession is expected to have as soon as possible and a real European economy in which business to comply with the rules unanimously recognized.
    Keywords: auditor; the accounting expert; valuation expert; tax consultant
    JEL: M42
    Date: 2009–01–22
  22. By: Suciu, Marta Cristina
    Abstract: The main aim of the chapter is to provide the readers with a synthesis of the new international framework of debate dedicated to the topics of intangible assets and intellectual capital. Considering the topics of the whole book, this chapter is focussed on the role played by intangible assets and intellectual capital for attaining convergence and for increasing competitiveness. * Study within the CEEX Programme – Project No. 220/2006 “Economic Convergence and Role of Knowledge in Relation to the EU Integration”.
    Keywords: convergence, knowledge-based economy, competitiveness, competitive advantage, intangible assets, intellectual capital
    JEL: E24 I23 I28 J24 O15 O47
    Date: 2009–01
  23. By: Tomasz Brodzicki (Faculty of Economics, University of Gdansk)
    Abstract: The goal of this article is to investigate the determinants of the pattern of bilateral trade flows of Poland with its major trade partners with the use of trade gravity model approach. The analysis is carried out for 181 trade partners of Poland in the period 1999-2006. In the basic version of the trade gravity model we take into account only the standard factors as suggested by the literature of the subject. In its extended version we control for several additional factors including: quality of institutions, impact of regional and bilateral trade agreements or exchange rate volatility. In order to obtain unbiased results we utilize the Prais-Winsten regression with Panel Corrected Standard Errors (PCSE). In most of the cases the coefficients for the traditional gravity determinants are economically sensible and their impact on the dependant variable is statistically significant. The impact of market size, distance or quality of institutions are in line with our expectations. The role of migrants as proxied by the size of Polish diaspora is rather large. Increase in the size of Polish diaspora of 1 per cent increases bilateral trade by approx. 0.2 per cent. Foreign exchange rate volatility has an adversely negative impact on the trade flows. The unrealized potential of a membership in the eurozone could be judged relatively high. The results concerning trade agreements are however rather unanticipated.
    Keywords: trade gravity model, Poland, panel data, PCES
    JEL: C23 F10 F14 F15
    Date: 2009–01
  24. By: Yin-Wong Cheung; Menzie D. Chinn; Eiji Fujii
    Abstract: We examine whether the Chinese exchange rate is misaligned and how Chinese trade flows respond to the exchange rate and to economic activity. We find, first, that the Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB), is substantially below the value predicted by estimates based upon a cross-country sample, when using the 2006 vintage of the World Development Indicators. The economic magnitude of the mis-alignment is substantial -- on the order of 50 percent in log terms. However, the misalignment is typically not statistically significant, in the sense of being more than two standard errors away from the conditional mean. However, this finding disappears completely when using the most recent 2008 vintage of data; then the estimated undervaluation is on the order of 10 percent. Second, we find that Chinese multilateral trade flows respond to relative prices -- as represented by a trade weighted exchange rate -- but the relationship is not always precisely estimated. In addition, the direction of the effects is sometimes different from what is expected a priori. For instance, Chinese ordinary imports actually rise in response to a RMB depreciation; however, Chinese exports appear to respond to RMB depreciation in the expected manner, as long as a supply variable is included. In that sense, Chinese trade is not exceptional. Furthermore, Chinese trade with the United States appears to behave in a standard manner -- especially after the expansion in the Chinese manufacturing capital stock is accounted for. Thus, the China-US trade balance should respond to real exchange rate and relative income movements in the anticipated manner. However, in neither the case of multilateral nor bilateral trade flows should one expect quantitatively large effects arising from exchange rate changes. And, of course, these results are not informative with regard to the question of how a change in the RMB/USD exchange rate would affect the overall US trade deficit. Finally, we stress the fact that considerable uncertainty surrounds both our estimates of RMB misalignment and the responsiveness of trade flows to movements in exchange rates and output levels. In particular, the results for trade elasticities are sensitive to econometric specification, accounting for supply effects, and for the inclusion of time trends.
    JEL: F3
    Date: 2009–01
  25. By: John Gibson (University of Waikato); Xiangzheng Deng (Chinese Academy of Sciences); Geua Boe-Gibson (University of Waikato); Scott Rozelle; Jikun Huang
    Abstract: In this paper we have two objectives - one empirical; one methodological. Although China’s leaders are beginning to pay attention to health care in rural China, there are still concerns about access to health services. To examine this issue, we use measures of travel distances to health services to examine the nature of coverage in Shaanxi Province, our case study. The mean distance by road to the nearest health center is still more than 6 kilometers. When we use thresholds for access of 5 and 10 kilometers we find that more than 40 (15) percent of the rural population lives outside of these 5 (10) kilometer service areas for health centers. The nature of the access differs by geographical region and demographic composition of the household. The methodological contribution of our paper originates from a key feature of our analysis in which we use Geographic Information System (GIS) network analysis methods to measure traveling distance along the road network. We compare these measures to straight-line distance measures. Road distances (produced by network analysis) produce measures (using means) that are nearly twice as great as straight-line distances. Moreover, the errors in the measures (that is, the difference between road distances and straight-line distances) are not random. Therefore, traditional econometric methods of ameliorating the effects of measurement errors, such as instrument variables regression, will not produce consistent results when used with straight-line distances.
    Keywords: health access; measurement error; network analysis
    JEL: I12 O15
    Date: 2008–12–31
  26. By: Ljiljana Pjerotic (Culture and Education Advisor, Municipality of Budva, Montenegro)
    Abstract: Included in the regional cooperation of SEE countries, trade liberalization is considered the most important factor of a sustainable economic growth which should contribute to the mutual trade among SEE countries, growth of the foreign direct investments, further production specialization and export structure change. Countries of the region have accepted liberalization as one of the conditions of the Stabilization and Association Process (SAP), hoping, each of them individually, that in that way they would improve proper position. Creating a free trade area will contribute to a further increase of intra-regional trade flows, but it shouldnt be expected that the relative importance of mutual exchange will prevail the importance which EU has for the SEE countries, except Moldova. Paper is divided into five sections. After the introduction, the trade liberalization process in the SEE region is explained in the second part (section 2). The third section analyses actual intra-regional trade flows and SEE countries trade relations with the EU (section 3). Some controversial issues raised in recent debates on trade liberalization in SEE are also discussed (section 4). The main conclusions are given at the end (section 5).
    Keywords: Trade liberalization, Regional cooperation, Free trade area, Intra-regional trade, South East Europe, European Union
    JEL: F02 F16 F42
    Date: 2008–06
  27. By: Enjing Li; Paavo Suni; Yanyun Zhao
    Abstract: ABSTRACT : This study focuses on the labour cost competitiveness of the chemical industries in China and Finland in particular, using the corresponding German, the US and Estonian industries as a point of comparison in the early 2000s. This study deepens the analysis of the earlier study of the cost competitiveness of the manufacturing industries in the same group of countries. Separate studies focusing on the labour cost competitiveness are carried out in a parallel manner on the fabricated metal industries and paper industries. The results of these three sector studies deepen the knowledge about the change of competitiveness and its level. Large unit labour cost differences in a common currency were obviously a key factor behind exceptionally rapidly changing international production and trade structures in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Chinese chemicals and chemical products and rubber and plastic products industries grew by 21 and 23 per cent per year in 2000-2007 as the average annual growth of the value added of world manufacturing volume was only 3 per cent in 2000-2006. Nominal wages as such do not imply good international competitiveness. Chinese wages are, however, low even if the Chinese low labour productivity is taken into account and costs per unit of production are compared in a common currency. The relative levels of the Chinese unit labour costs vis-à-vis Germany, using the unit value ratios (UVR) to make the production volumes comparable, were estimated to be about 6 and 2 per cent in the chemicals and chemical products and rubber and plastic products industries, respectively. In the case of the chemicals and chemical products industry, the ratio has even declined in the course of the 2000s, while in the rubber and plastic products industry it has been stable. Improving labour productivity in China had compensated for the effects of rapidly rising wages and an appreciating Renminbi Yuan in the case of the chemicals and chemical products industry and it had even more than compensated for it in the case of the rubber and plastic products industry.
    Date: 2008–12–31
  28. By: Pavla Zizalova (Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: Innovation studies literature has put high importance to sectoral and regional patterns of innovations. This research effort is based upon the argument that industries as well as regions represent quite homogeneous entities with respect to firms’ innovation strategies. To the contrary, evolutionary approaches assign more importance to firms’ heterogeneity and hence look for groups of firms characterised by similar innovation strategies cutting across the traditional boundaries. The purpose of this paper is to characterize the innovation strategies of Czech firms using explanatory factor analysis and thus first contribute to a better understanding of innovative activities and second, explore whether the identified divergence in innovation patterns can be attributed to the localized conditions or whether it is rather firmspecific. Finally, the paper will discuss the implications of these findings for the literature on territorial systems of innovation, particularly the question how the systems should be delineated, as well as implications for (regional) innovation policy.
    Keywords: innovation, regional systems of innovation, factor analysis.
    Date: 2009–01
  29. By: V. Gimpelson; R. Kapeliushnikov; A. Lukiyanova
    Date: 2008

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