The FIW - Research Centre International Economics (https://www.fiw.ac.at/) is a cooperation between the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), the University Vienna, the Johannes Kepler University Linz, the University of Innsbruck, WIFO, wiiw and WSR. FIW is supported by the Austrian Federal Ministries of Education, Research and Science (BMBFW) and of Labour and Economy (BMAW).
Abstract: The paper addresses the link between productivity and labour mobility. The hypothesis tested is that technology is transmitted across industries through the movement of skilled workers embodying human capital. The embodied knowledge is then diffused within the new environment creating spillovers and leading to productivity improvements. The empirical analysis is based on household survey and industry-level data for a sample of 12 EU countries covering the years 1995-2005. The estimates document the importance of positive cross-sectoral knowledge spillovers and indicate that labour mobility has considerable beneficial effects on industry productivity. Possible endogeneity problems related to labour mobility are tackled by employing a two stage instrumental variables approach. Moreover we show that the spillover effects vary considerably by technology level of the giving industry. While workers moving away from high and medium-tech industries are found to produce positive productivity effects for the receiving industry, no effect is found for those coming from low-tech industries.
Abstract: This paper examines the stability of money demand and the forecasting performance of a broad monetary aggregate (M3) in predicting euro area inflation. Excess liquidity is measured as the difference between the actual money stock and its fundamental value, the latter determined by a money demand function. The out-of sample forecasting performance is compared to widely used alternatives, such as the term structure of interest rates. The results indicate that the evolution of M3 is still in line with money demand even in the period of the financial and economic crisis. Monetary indi-cators are useful to predict inflation, if the forecasting equations are based on measures of excess liquidity.
Abstract: This paper is interested in linking formally external disequilibriums to the sovereign debt crisis the EMU is experiencing since 2009. Relying on the CHEER approach that connects the goods market to the capital market, we show that when a country belonging to a monetary union faces external disequilibrium relative to its main partner, the corresponding interest rate differential increases. Moreover, when these imbalances are persistent, it may trigger a balance of payments crisis. Our findings indicate that this phenomenon seems to be at play for the European countries under international assistance.
Abstract: The Chinese economic development affects GDP growth and inflation in the advanced countries. A GVAR approach is used to model the interdependencies between the business cycles in China and industrial countries, including the US, the euro area and Japan. For robustness, the results are compared to those obtained by leading structural econometric models, such as NiGEM and OEF. Evidence is based on the responses to a Chinese shock stemming from the recent fiscal stimulus package. The results indicate that the impact on GDP growth in the advanced economies is substantial for the Asian region. The expansionary effects to the US and the euro area responses are much lower and decrease due to rising inflation pressure. The analysis also reveals that China is still highly vulnerable to shocks in industrial countries, including the government debt crisis in the euro area.
Abstract: This paper develops an open economy growth model in which firm heterogeneity increases the gains from trade. Technology spillovers from incumbent firms to entrants cause the productivity threshold for firm survival to grow over time as competition becomes tougher. By raising the profits of exporters, trade increases the entry rate and generates a dynamic selection effect that leads to higher growth. The paper shows that the gains from trade can be decomposed into: static gains that equal the total gains from trade in an economy without technology spillovers, and; dynamic gains that are strictly positive. Since trade raises growth through selection, not scale effects, the positive growth effect of trade vanishes when firms are homogeneous. Thus, firm heterogeneity creates a new source of dynamic gains from trade. Calibrating the model to the U.S. economy implies that dynamic selection approximately triples the gains from trade.
Abstract: We address the question of whether foreign aid helps attract foreign direct investment (FDI). This could be achieved if well targeted aid removed critical impediments to higher FDI inflows. In particular, we test the hypothesis that aid for education is an effective means to increase FDI flows to host countries in Latin America where schooling and education appears to be inadequate from the viewpoint of foreign investors. We employ panel data techniques covering 21 Latin American countries over the period from 1984 to 2008. We find that aid for education has a statistically significant positive effect on FDI. This effect is robust to potential outliers, sample selection, alternative specifications and different estimation methods.
Abstract: One third of Chinese exporters sell more than ninety percent of their production abroad. We argue that this distinctive pattern is attributable to the widespread use of subsidies that require firms to export the vast majority of their output. We study this type of subsidy in the context of a heterogeneous-firm model, and show that it is worse from a welfare standpoint than a regular export subsidy, partly because it increases protection of the domestic market. A counterfactual analysis suggests that eliminating these subsidies would result in a welfare gain for China comparable to that of halving its trade costs.
Abstract: This paper investigates empirically the role of Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) as determinants of migration inflows for 29 OECD countries in the period 1998-2008. By increasing information about signatory countries, PTAs are expected to drive migration flows towards member countries. Building on the empirical literature on the determinants of migration, I estimate a modified gravity model on migration flows providing evidence of a strong positive effect of PTAs on bilateral migration flows. I also consider the content of PTAs as a further determinant of migration, finding that visa-and-asylum and labour market related provisions, when included in PTAs, stimulate bilateral migration flows. Finally, by comparing the average effects of PTAs on migration flows and on trade, I show that PTAs stimulate bilateral migration flows more than trade in final goods. PTAs might be used by government to increase inflows of immigrant workers in the case of labour shortages or population ageing.
Abstract: In this paper I quantify the welfare gains of the 2004 EU enlargement as a result of the abolition of border controls, both for incumbents and for new members. I build a multi-sector Ricardian model, allowing for linkages across sectors, similar to the one in Caliendro and Parro (2011). As with a large number of quantitative trade models, the gains crucially depend on one key parameter, the dispersion of productivity. I extend the estimation methodology of Costinot et al. (2012) to a richer modeling setting and compute the dispersion in a way consistent with the underlying theoretical model. Within the model, I compare the welfare changes for 23 countries between 2003 and 2006. I find that new entrants gained significantly more than old members from enlargement. However, the overall changes in real income are rather small, measured in single digits for new entrants and fractions of a percent for old members. I also break down total gains by source and find that allowing for interconnectedness across sectors amplifies the changes in welfare.
Abstract: In this paper, I estimate the impact of service offshoring on the real wages of U.S. workers by controlling for workers’ skill levels and the offshoring susceptibility of different tasks. Matching individual-level wage data with input-output tables over the period from 2006 to 2009, I am further able to account for unobservable individual-level heterogeneity. The results from a Mincerian wage regression indicate that within skill groups, the impact of service offshoring on real wages depends on the task content of the respective occupation. The real wages of medium- and high-skilled workers employed in the least offshorable occupations were positively affected by service offshoring. However, within the groups of medium- and high-skilled workers, service offshoring negatively affected the real wage of the most tradable occupations.
Abstract: This paper evaluates the bias which may occur when trade elasticities are estimated using data on aggregate trade, instead of using data on bilateral trade. The exercise is done on the case of Macedonia. Elasticities obtained from aggregate-trade data, using the Autoregressive Distributed Lag approach, are compared with the elasticities obtained from bilateral-trade data, using dynamic heterogenous panels techniques. Results point out that the aggregation bias is sizeable and that relying on aggregate data can lead to wrong conclusions about the trade elasticities.
Abstract: In a dynamic panel framework, I investigate the qualitative aspects of factors determining current account imbalances in (country groupings within) the European Union. I consider the standard determinants of current account positions discussed in the past literature, but additionally, I include a series of explanatory variables that refer to the sectoral composition of the European economies and that could have significantly contributed to the current account developments in the past decades. Independently of the econometric method used, the main finding suggests that the economic predominance of the construction sector might have played an important role in aggravating current account positions in the European economies. In parallel, some negative influence could be found for some other service sectors, but this shouldn’t be of much concern due to their role played in the growth process.
Abstract: The present paper contributes to the existing literature analyzing the relationship between intra EU trade in services and European Integration by taking into consideration a potential endogeneity bias of the EU dummy and a correct specification of multilateral resistance terms in a panel data set covering the years 2000-2010. Our results offer evidence for a high positive impact of European integration on aggregate services trade between member states while we find a negative effect of monetary integration. However, there exist notable differences at the sector level. According to our results, European integration has positive effects especially for business services, travel and EDV services. Analyzing the evolvement of the sectoral EU-effects over time shows that exports of EDV and OBS have steadily increased due to European integration.
Abstract: We develop a comprehensive index of the transparency of central banks regarding their policy framework to promote financial stability for 110 countries from 2000 to 2011 and examine the determinants and effects of this transparency. We find that the degree of transparency increased in the 2000s, though it still varied greatly across the countries in our study. Our regression results suggest that more developed countries exhibit greater transparency, that episodes of high financial stress have a negative effect on transparency and that the legal origin matters, too. Importantly, we find that transparency regarding the level of financial stability is strongly affected by monetary policy transparency. The central banks that have a transparent monetary policy are more likely to show increased transparency in their framework for financial stability. Our results also suggest a non-linear effect of central bank financial stability transparency on financial stress. Unless the financial sector experiences severe distress, greater transparency is beneficial for financial stability.
Abstract: The article analyses patterns and country-specific determinants of Visegrad Countries’ (VC) agri-food trade with the European Union. Literature focusing on the country-specific determinants of vertical and horizontal intra-industry trade is rather limited and those analysing agricultural (or agri-food) trade are extremely rare. Therefore, the paper seeks to contribute to the literature by covering latest theory and data available on the topic to provide up to date results and suggestions. Moreover, it seeks to identify the determinants of horizontal and vertical intra-industry trade of the Visegrad Countries after EU accession. Results suggest that agri-food trade of the Visegrad Countries is mainly inter-industry in nature but intra-industry trade is dominated by vertical elements. Results verify that determinants of horizontal and vertical IIT differ and suggest that economic size is positively, while distance is negatively related to both sides of IIT. However, the relationship between vertical IIT and differences in factor endowments as well as FDI is ambiguous.
Abstract: This paper studies how firm-level export performance is affected by Real Exchange Rate (RER) volatility and investigates whether this effect depends on existing financial constraints. Our empirical analysis relies on export data for more than 100,000 Chinese exporters over the period 2000-2006. We confirm a trade-deterring effect of RER volatility. We find that the value exported by firms, as well as their probability of entering new export markets, decrease for destinations with higher exchange rate volatility and that this effect is magnified for financially vulnerable firms. As expected, financial development does seem to dampen this negative impact, especially on the intensive margin of export. These results provide microfounded evidence that financial constraints may play a key role in determining the macro impact of RER volatility on real outcomes.
Abstract: Technology is a key element for long-term growth and economic development. Given the stark concentration of innovation activities in a few countries most countries have to rely on the international diffusion of newly developed technologies. Some countries may fail to successfully perform the task of technology adaption leading to a tripartite segmentation of countries into an innovation club, an imitation club whose members are capable of absorbing technologies developed by the former and a stagnation group that lack the capability to absorb foreign technologies. We test the role of the technology gap for growth as suggested by the technology club hypothesis in a threshold regression framework using human capital as the threshold variable. Using this approach, which is related to Benhabib-Spiegel type growth regressions, we are able to identify two distinct thresholds giving rise to three country groupings. As suggested by the theory of technology clubs we find the strongest effects from the catch-up term on economic growth for the intermediate group (imitation club).
Abstract: The establishment of the currently negotiated Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between EU and Ukraine is the next significant step towards Ukraine’s deeper integration into the world economy, widely expected to result in additional welfare gains. As developing countries face some costs associated with trade liberalization, this paper contributes to the literature by analyzing the effects of the EU-Ukraine FTA taking into account the loss of tariff revenues as well as the changed economic conditions after Ukraine’s accession to the WTO in 2008. In particular, we calculate the effects of a unilateral tariff elimination in a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model for Ukraine simulating three scenarios reflecting different means to compensate for the loss in tariff revenues. It turns out to be important to take these costs into consideration while modeling trade liberalization, as the results vary significantly across the scenarios. In general, we find that tariff elimination has only a small impact on the country’s welfare because of the already strongly reduced tariff rates after Ukraine’s WTO accession. The effects can even be negative if the country tries to refinance the trade liberalization costs by means of tax policy. According to our simulations the most welfare enhancing option would be the provision of financial support by the EU, which is in fact suggested in the latest European Parliament resolution.
Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of Chinese competition on developed countries export prices, with a focus on Italy. After a theoretical discussion of the channels affecting export prices in presence of competitors from low income countries, we estimate the pricing behavior of two major manufacturing sectors, consumer goods and machinery, distinguishing destination markets according to their income level. Results show that export competition from China has affected Italian price strategies over the period 2000-08, in an idiosyncratic way according to the income level of importers, sector and technology level of products exported. Contrary to what observed for other high-income countries, we find that Italy has followed a very specific strategy to face Chinese competition. Instead of changing “between sector”, moving up to the technology ladder, Italy has kept its specialization in traditional sectors and has upgraded the quality of its low-tech and laborintensive products, when in direct competition with Chinese ones. For higher technology products, on the other hand, it has adjusted prices downward to reduce Chinese competitive pressure, especially in segments where it does not hold a comparative advantage, while it has fostered differentiation only for some niche products within the sectors with higher specialization.
Abstract: Immigration has been popularised in the economics literature as a tool to balance the troubled PAYG pension systems. A pivotal research by Razin and Sadka showed that unskilled immigration can surmount the pension problem and, further, boost the general welfare in the host economy. However a large strand of current economics literature is engaged in identifying mechanisms through which unskilled immigration, while solving the pension problem, causes undesired shifts in general welfare. This work shows that actually recurring unskilled immigration may challenge the entire pension system and decrease the pension benefits themselves.
Abstract: We analyse EMEs global competitiveness whereby we explicitly take account of non-price aspects of competitiveness building on the methodology developed in Feenstra (1994) and Broda and Weinstein (2006) and the extension provided in Benkovskis and Wörz (2012). We construct an export price index which adjusts for changes in the set of competitors (variety) and changes in non-price factors (quality in a broad sense) for a set of nine large emerging economies (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey). We use a highly disaggregated data set at the detailed 6-digit HS level over the period 1999-2010. In contrast to the conclusions based on the CPI-based real effective exchange rate we find that there are rather pronounced differences between individual markets. As a first and important result, China shows a huge gain in international competitiveness due to non-price factors thus suggesting that the role of Renminbi undervaluation for China’s competitive position may be overstressed. The strong improvements in Russia's non-price competitiveness are exclusively due to developments in the oil sector as are the competitive losses observed for Argentina and Indonesia. Further, Brazil, Chile, India, and Turkey show discernible improvements in their competitive position when accounting for non-price factors while Mexico's competitiveness has deteriorated regardless of the index chosen.
Abstract: The present paper aims to test the impact of incoming Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on local wages in the Italian manufacturing sector by using firm level data from 2002 to 2007. Results initially show the lack of wage spillovers at both horizontal and vertical level, meaning that the effects of foreign investment are completely internalized within each firm. However, when the technology gap is taken into account, we find some evidence of a non-linear relationship between gap size and wage spillover. In particular, if the technological gap between local firms and foreign companies is too large, Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) face some difficulty in interacting with domestic suppliers and customers, with the consequence that they act like monads within the host country. We therefore believe that policies favouring the attraction of inward investments, should not be of the ‘one for all’ or ‘one for always’ type, but must be strongly directed towards the sectoral and local characteristics of the host country.
Abstract: This paper considers the linkages between output growth and output volatility for the sample of G7 countries over the period 1958M2-2011M7, thereby paying particular attention to spillovers within and between countries. Using the VAR-based spillover index approach by Diebold and Yilmaz (2012), we identify several empirical regularities: i) output growth and volatility are highly intertwined, with spillovers taking place into all four directions; ii) the importance of spillovers has increased after the mid 1980s and reached unprecedented levels during the recent financial and economic crisis; iii) the US has been the largest transmitter of output and volatility shocks to other countries. Generalized impulse response analyses point to moderate growth-growth spillovers and sizable volatility-volatility spillovers across countries, suggesting that volatility shocks quintuplicate in the long run. The cross-variable effects turn out negative: volatility shocks lead to lower economic growth, growth shocks tend to reduce output volatility. Our findings underline the increased vulnerability of the G7 countries to destabilizing shocks and their detrimental effects on economic growth, which are sizeably amplified through international spillover effects and the associated repercussions.
Abstract: The paper complements entry mode research by dealing with the choice of alternative modes of governance in the specific case of foreign R&D and its impact on a parent firm’s performance. Firstly, we identify the factors that determine whether a firm locates abroad any R&D activities, and, if it does so, whether it chooses an equity-based rather than a non-equity co-operative mode of governance. The OLI paradigm is used as theoretical background of this analysis. Secondly, we determine the impact of foreign R&D on a parent firm’s performance in terms of innovation output and labour productivity, and investigate whether this effect differs among firms using the one or the other governance mode. The study is based on separate estimations for Switzerland and Austria using comparable firm data and model specifications. The two countries are interesting cases as they strongly differ in terms of level and pattern of internationalisation.