Openness and Income Disparities: Does Trade Explain The 'Mezzogiorno' Effect?
Review of World Economics,
We use Italian regional data to answer the question whether trade affects within-country income differentials. In Italy, the more affluent Northern regions trade more with the rest of the world than the poorer ones in the Southern “Mezzogiorno” regions. Prima facie, there is a positive correlation between external trade and per capita income. Studying this relationship empirically requires taking into account the endogenous component of trade. We argue that panel cointegration models can complement instrumental variables techniques to account for the endogeneity of trade in a panel context. Both methods show a positive link between trade openness and the level of income per capita.
Openness and Growth: The Long Shadow of the Berlin Wall
Journal of Macroeconomics,
The question whether international openness causes higher domestic growth has been subject to intense discussions in the empirical growth literature. This paper addresses the issue in the context of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. We analyze whether the slow convergence in per capita incomes between East and West Germany and the lower international openness of East Germany are linked. We address the endogeneity of openness by adapting the methodology proposed by Frankel and Romer (1999) to a panel framework. We instrument openness with time-invariant exogenous geographic variables and time-varying exogenous policy variables. We also distinguish the impact of different channels of integration. Our paper has three main findings. First, geographic variables have a significant impact on regional openness. Second, controlling for geography, East German states are less integrated into international markets along all dimensions of integration considered. Third, the degree of openness for trade has a positive impact on regional income per capita.
Growth, Volatility, and Credit Market Imperfections: Evidence from German Firms
Journal of Economic Studies,
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, it studies whether output volatility and growth are linked at the firm-level, using data for German firms. Second, it explores whether the link between volatility and growth depends on the degree of credit market imperfections.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors use a novel firm-level dataset provided by the Deutsche Bundesbank, the so-called Financial Statements Data Pool. The dataset has time series observations for German firms for the period 1997-2004, and the authors use information on the debt-to-assets or leverage ratio of firms to proxy for credit-constraints at the firm-level. As additional proxies for the importance of credit market imperfections, we use information on the size and on the legal status of firms.
Findings – The authors find that higher volatility has a negative impact on growth for small and a positive impact for larger firms. Higher leverage is associated with higher growth. At the same time, there is heterogeneity in the determinants of growth across firms from different sectors and across firms with a different legal status.
Practical implications – While most traditional macroeconomic models assume that growth and volatility are uncorrelated, a number of microeconomic models suggest that the two may be linked. However, it is unclear whether the link is positive or negative. The paper presents additional evidence regarding this question. Moreover, understanding whether credit market conditions affect the link between volatility and growth is of importance for policy makers since it suggests a channel through which the credit market can have long-run welfare implications. The results stress the importance of firm-level heterogeneity for the effects and effectiveness of economic policy measures.
Originality/value – The paper has two main novel features. First, it uses a novel firm-level dataset to analyze the determinants of firm-level growth. Second, it analyzes the growth-volatility nexus using firm-level data. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first paper, which addresses the link between volatility, growth, and credit market imperfections using firm-level data.
A Glimpse on Sectoral Convergence of Productivity Levels
This paper examines the presence of sectoral convergence of labor productivity between 14 OECD countries. Using the OECD International Sectoral Data Base (ISDB), the paper looks at the developments within 12 distinct sectors during the period 1970-1995. The change of the coefficients of variance suggests that there is strong sectoral convergence within most service sectors while the evidence of convergence for Manufacturing as well as for Communication is rather weak. These findings are in line with most studies undertaken on this subject so far. It is concluded that economic theories at hand to explain growth and convergence (or divergence respectively) are of different importance for the sectors concerned. While models of the New Growth Theory seemed to be useful to explain growth mechanisms within Manufacturing and Communication, traditional models seemed to apply to most other sectors.