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World Bank Policy Research Working Papers

Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003
Carsten Fink, Aaditya Mattoo, Ileana Cristina Neagu World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2002.  No. 2929.
Recent research suggests that trade costs have a strong influence on the pattern of specialization and trade, but there is limited empirical research on the determinants of trade costs. The existing literature identifies a range of barriers that separate nations, but then typically focuses only on transport costs. Although communication costs figure prominently in intuitive explanations and casual observations, they have played little role in the formal analysis of trade costs. Fink, Mattoo, and Neagu seek to examine whether this neglect matters, and whether the inclusion of the magnitude and variation of communication costs across partner countries can add value to existing explanations of the pattern of trade. The authors develop a simple multi-sector model of “impeded” trade that generates testable hypotheses in a gravity-type estimation framework. The main proxies for bilateral communication costs are the per-minute country-to-country calling prices charged in the importing and exporting countries. The use of bilateral variations in prices yields estimates that are superior to the ones obtained from country-specific measures of communication infrastructure used in previous studies. The authors find that international variations in communication costs indeed have a significant influence on bilateral trade flows—both at the aggregate level and for most individual sectors disaggregated according to the 2-digit SITC classification. Since information and communication needs are likely to be much greater for differentiated goods, the authors test whether trade in these products is more sensitive to variations in the costs of communication. Using the Rauch classification of product heterogeneity, the estimates suggest that the impact of communication costs on trade in differentiated products is as much as one-third larger than on trade in homogenous products. Finally, the authors verify, to the extent possible, that the significance of communication costs is not driven by their endogeneity or by omitted variables.
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Опубликовано на портале: 17-11-2003
Dominique van de Walle World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 1996.  No. 1670.
В целях изучения влияния общественных расходов на различные аспекты уровня жизни, необходимо расширить определение благосостояния, развить методы его оценки и сравнить результаты. Повышение уровня жизни, особенно бедных слоев населения является одной из важнейших целей осуществления общественных расходов. Но как наилучшим образом оценить степень достижения данной цели? Оценка государственной политики требует анализа не только результатов ее воздействия, но и характеристики ситуации в условиях отсутствия государственного вмешательства. Дать количественные оценки практически невозможно. Автор изучил методы, наиболее часто используемые для оценки влияния общественных расходов на благосостояние. Их можно разделить на две группы: изучение сферы действия выгод и поведенческие подходы. Обе группы методов имеют определенные преимущества и недостатки. Исследования сферы действия выгод игнорируют поведенческие изменения, а также второстепенные эффекты. Поведенческие подходы обладают целым рядом недостатков связанных, прежде всего, с невозможностью точной оценки индивидуальных выгод. В недавних исследованиях делается попытка совместить оба метода.
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Опубликовано на портале: 16-04-2007
Allen N. Berger, George R.G. Clarke, Robert Cull, Leora F. Klapper, Gregory F. Udell World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2005.  No. 3632.
We jointly analyze the static, selection, and dynamic effects of domestic, foreign, and state ownership on bank performance. We argue that it is important to include indicators of all the relevant governance effects in the same model. "Nonrobustness" checks (which purposely exclude some indicators) support this argument. Using data from Argentina in the 1990s, our strongest and most robust results concern state ownership. State-owned banks have poor long-term performance (static effect), those undergoing privatization had particularly poor performance beforehand (selection effect), and these banks dramatically improved following privatization (dynamic effect). However, much of the measured improvement is likely due to placing nonperforming loans into residual entities, leaving "good" privatized banks.
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Опубликовано на портале: 16-04-2007
Leora F. Klapper, Inessa Love World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2004.  No. 2818.
We use recent data on firm-level corporate governance (CG) rankings across 14 emerging markets and find that there is wide variation in firm-level governance in our sample and that the average firmlevel governance is lower in countries with weaker legal systems.We explore the determinants of firmlevel governance and find that governance is correlated with the extent of the asymmetric information and contracting imperfections that firms face. We also find that better corporate governance is highly correlated with better operating performance and market valuation. Finally, we provide evidence that firm-level corporate governance provisions matter more in countries with weak legal environments.
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Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003
Jeffrey J. Reimer World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2002.  No. 2790.
As a new round of World Trade Organization negotiations is being launched with greater emphasis on developing country participation, a body of literature is emerging which quantifies how international trade affects the poor in developing countries. In this survey of the literature, Reimer summarizes and classifies 35 trade and poverty studies into four methodological categories: cross-country regression, partial-equilibrium and cost-of-living analysis, general-equilibrium simulation, and micro-macro synthesis. These categories include a broad range of methodologies in current use. The continuum of approaches is bounded on one end by econometric analysis of household expenditure data, which is the traditional domain of poverty specialists, and sometimes labeled the “bottom-up” approach. On the other end of the continuum are computable general equilibrium models based on national accounts data, or what might be called the “top-down” approach. Another feature of several recent trade and poverty studies—and one of the primary conclusions to emerge from the October 2000 “Conference on Poverty and the International Economy” sponsored by Globkom and the World Bank—is the recognition that factor markets are perhaps the most important link between trade and poverty, since households tend to be much more specialized in income than they are in consumption. Meanwhile, survey data on the income sources of developing-country households has become increasingly available. As a result, this survey gives particular emphasis to the means by which studies address factor market links between trade and poverty. The general conclusion of Reimer’s survey is that any analysis of trade and poverty needs to be informed by both the bottom-up and top-down perspectives. Indeed, recent “two-step” micro-macro studies sequentially link these two types of frameworks, such that general equilibrium mechanisms are incorporated along with detailed household survey information. Another methodology in a similar spirit and also increasingly used involves incorporating large numbers of surveyed households into a general-equilibrium simulation model. Although most of these studies have so far been limited to a single region, these approaches can be readily adapted for multi-region modeling so that trade and poverty comparisons can be made across countries within a consistent framework.
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Опубликовано на портале: 04-11-2004
James Anderson, Will Martin World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 1998.  No. 1981.
We provide simple, robust operational rules for evaluating public expenditures in distorted economies. Our analysis integrates previous treatments of project evaluation as special cases within a clean unified framework. In particular, the border price rule developed in the shadow pricing literature requires very strong assumptions to be valid when governments must rely on distortionary taxation and are unable or unwilling to cover the costs of the project through user charges. We develop general project evaluation rules that are more complex than the border price rule, but involve only one additional parameter, the Marginal Cost of Funds.
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Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003
Alexander Yeats, Francis Ng World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2003.  No. 3085.
World Bank demographic and country characteristic statistics identify 16 small landlocked countries that are similar to Lesotho. Ng and Yeats attempt to determine what useful policy information can be derived from the recent trade performance of these “comparators.” Among questions they pose are whether the trade profiles of the comparators suggest potentially promising export ventures for Lesotho, do they indicate directions for a geographic diversification of trade, or do they suggest products in which Lesotho might acquire a comparative advantage. The authors also use U.S. partner country statistics to evaluate Lesotho’s export performance in this major market. <> The U.S. data indicate Lesotho lost competitive export shares for about three-quarters of its major clothing products during the late 1990s. The data show these losses were primarily to the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries in the Caribbean. Lesotho was competing on basically equal terms and did not fare well. But it is generally held that the most efficient clothing exporters are in the Far East and not Latin America. Lesotho’s difficulties in competing with the latter have worrisome implications for its ability to compete with East Asian exporters when the Multifiber Arrangement is phased out. The comparative advantage profiles of the landlocked comparator countries suggest Lesotho’s options for a greatly needed export diversification may be wider than is assumed. One or more of the comparator countries developed a comparative advantage in 110 four-digit SITC (non-clothing) manufactures which are generally labor-intensive in production. Many of these goods should also be suitable for production and export by Lesotho. International production sharing often involves the importation and further assembly of components in developing countries. This activity can significantly broaden the range of new products in which a country can diversify. Statistics show many landlocked comparator countries have moved into component assembly operations, and it appears this activity could contribute to Lesotho’s export diversification and industrialization. But the quality problems associated with Lesotho’s trade statistics makes it impossible to determine the extent to which local production sharing is occurring. A special effort is needed to tabulate reliable statistics on Lesotho’s current involvement in this activity. Finally, the authors attempt to determine how the commercial policy environment in Lesotho compares with that in other countries. Policymakers previously had difficulty in addressing this issue, but several recent efforts to compile comprehensive cross-country indices of the quality of governance and commercial policies now provide relevant information. These statistics suggest domestic commercial policies make Lesotho relatively less attractive to foreign investment than many other developing countries. Less than 20 percent of all Latin American countries have a domestic commercial environment judged to be inferior to that in Lesotho, while the corresponding share for East Asia is under 30 percent. Overall, almost 70 percent of all developing countries appear to pursue commercial policies that make them as, or more, attractive to foreign investment than Lesotho.
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Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003
Thorsten Beck World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2000.  No. 2609.
Does financial development translate into a comparative advantage in industries that use more external finance? Yes, it does. Using industry-level data on firms’ dependence on external finance—data for 36 industries and 56 countries—Beck shows that countries with better developed financial systems have higher export shares and trade balances in industries that use more external finance. These results are robust to the use of alternative measures of external dependence and financial development and are not attributable to reverse causality or simultaneity bias.
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Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003
Thorsten Beck World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2001.  No. 2608.
Economies with better developed financial sectors have a comparative advantage in manufacturing industries. A two-sector model shows the sector with large scale economies profiting more than the other from a well-developed financial sector. In countries with higher levels of financial development, manufactured exports represent a higher share of GDP and of merchandise exports—and those countries have a higher trade balance in manufactured goods. Beck explores a possible link between financial development and trade in manufactures. His theoretical model focuses on the role of financial intermediaries in facilitating large-scale, high-return projects. Results show that economies with better developed financial sectors have a comparative advantage in manufacturing industries. He provides evidence for this hypothesis, first proposed by Kletzer and Bardhan (1987), using a 30-year panel of data for 65 countries. Controlling for country-specific effects and possible reverse causality, he shows that financial development exerts a large causal impact on the level of both exports and the trade balance of manufactured goods.
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Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003
Carsten Fink, Beata Smarzynska, Mariana Spatareanu World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2003.  No. 3150.
Economists have long recognized that richer countries trade more among themselves than with poorer economies due to a closer match of exporter supply structures and importer preferences. In the literature, the closeness of supply and demand has traditionally been determined by the quality of products—as expressed in the so-called Linder hypothesis. This paper examines an extension of the Linder hypothesis by also considering the extent of horizontal product differentiation as another determinant of the closeness of supply and demand. The empirical analysis employs information on international trademark registrations to test whether richer countries import more from countries whose exports are of higher quality and exhibit a greater degree of product differentiation. The results lend support to the hypothesis in most consumer goods sectors but not in intermediate goods sectors.
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Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003
Jacques Morisset, Alejandro Izquierdo, Marcelo Olarreaga World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2003.  No. 3032.
Globalization has been a persistent phenomenon of the post-war period. The gross volume of cross-border capital flows has grown at an average of 25 percent a year, and trade in goods and services has also increased, albeit not as dramatically, but at least twice as fast as world GDP over the past 20 years. Yet, consumers and investors continue to spend and hold a disproportionate share of their assets in local markets—the so-called home-bias has been emphasized by many recent empirical studies. For many researchers, this home bias reflects information asymmetries and the fact that acquiring information across international borders is relatively costly. The main objective of the authors is to identify channels through which information gets disseminated across international markets. They consider three potential channels through which information can affect import and foreign equity purchase decisions in 14 OECD countries. The first channel consists of information spillovers from the commercial to the financial markets and vice-versa. Financial investors and importers share common information, which is also frequently conveyed to them by the same source—banks or financial intermediaries. The second and third channels emphasize seller and buyer reputations in international markets. The seller reputation channel stresses the importance given by, for example, importers in the United States who are considering buying products from Italy to the experience that Canadian and Japanese importers may have accumulated on Italian exporters. The buyer reputation channel examines to what extent a foreign investor or trader seeks information on the reliability of the foreign buyer by assessing his reputation in other countries. While the last two channels are equally important in explaining bilateral import flows, buyer reputation appears to be of greater importance for equity flows in the sample. The authors argue that these three channels may help provide some insights about the recent episodes of contagion across markets and countries that occurred over the past decade. These information channels can create virtuous or vicious circles that may, in turn, lead to unexpected changes in investors’ and traders’ behaviors across markets.
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Опубликовано на портале: 19-10-2004
Tito Boeri, Katherine Terrell World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2001. 
The transition process from planned economies to market-oriented economies involves a substantial reallocation of labor. In the planned economies employment was typically concentrated in heavy industry, away from consumers preferences. A strong small business sector was lacking, and private initiative had been tolerated almost exclusively in agriculture. Patterns of foreign trade were determined by economic planners within the framework of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. In the process of transition, employment had to flow out of such sectors as state-owned heavy industry into the new private, mostly small-scale, business sector. The success of transition in a given country can be assessed in part by how well it has addressed the problem of reallocating labor.
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Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003
Paul Brenton World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2003.  No. 3018.
Trade preferences are a key element in industrial countries’ efforts to assist the integration of least developed countries (LDCs) into the world economy. Brenton provides an initial evaluation of the impact of the European Union’s recently introduced “Everything but Arms” (EBA) initiative on the products currently exported by the LDCs. He shows that the changes introduced by the EBA initiative in 2001 are relatively minor for currently exported products, primarily because over 99 percent of EU imports from the LDCs are in products which the EU had already liberalized, and the complete removal of barriers to the key remaining products—rice, sugar, and bananas—has been delayed. Brenton looks at the role EU preferences to LDCs in general have been playing and could play in assisting the integration of the LDCs. He shows that there is considerable variation across countries in the potential impact that EU preferences can have given current export structures. There is a group of LDCs for whom EU trade preferences on existing exports are not significant since these exports are mainly of products where the most-favored-nation duty is zero. Export diversification is the key issue for these countries. For other LDCs, EU preferences have the potential to provide a more substantial impact on trade. However, the author shows that only 50 percent of EU imports from non-ACP (Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific) LDCs which are eligible actually request preferential access to the EU. The prime suspect for this low level of use are the rules of origin, both the restrictiveness of the requirements on sufficient processing and the costs and difficulties of providing the necessary documentation. More simple rules of origin are likely to enhance the impact of EU trade preferences in terms of improving market access and in stimulating diversification toward a broader range of exports.
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Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003
Alan V. Deardorff World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2001.  No. 2548.
By reducing the costs of such trade services as transport, insurance, and finance, liberalizing trade in services can generate benefits in the markets for every kind of trade they facilitate. It can also stimulate the fragmentation of production of both goods and services, thus increasing international trade and the gains from trade even further. Deardorff examines the special role that trade liberalization in services industries can play in stimulating trade in both services and goods. International trade in goods requires inputs from such trade services as transportation, insurance, and finance, for example. Restrictions on services across borders and within foreign countries add costs and barriers to international trade. Liberalizing trade in services could also facilitate trade in goods, providing more benefits than one might expect from analysis merely of the services trade. To emphasize the point, Deardorff notes that the benefits for trade are arguably enhanced by the phenomenon of fragmentation. The more that production processes become split across locations, with the fragments tied together and coordinated by various trade services, the greater the gains from reductions in the costs of services. The incentives for such fragmentation can be greater across countries than within countries because of the greater differences in factor prices and technologies. But the service costs of international fragmentation can also be larger, especially if regulations and restrictions impede the international provision of services. As a result, trade liberalization in services can stimulate the fragmentation of production of both goods and services, thus increasing international trade and the gains from trade even further. Since fragmentation seems to characterize an increasing portion of world specialization, the importance of service liberalization is growing apace.
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Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003
Alexander Yeats, Francis Ng World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2003.  No. 3084.
This study’s empirical findings have positive implications for further efforts to expand East Asian regional trade and cooperation initiatives. Since the mid-1980s regional intra-trade has grown at a rate roughly double that of world trade, and at a rate far higher than the intra-trade of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) member countries or the European Union. Evidence based on intra-industry trade ratios or statistics on international production sharing show economic linkages and the interdependence of East Asian economies have considerably strengthened over the past two decades. On a global scale, East Asia (excluding Japan) now originates 19 percent of world trade, which is approximately the same share as the NAFTA member countries.
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