World Bank Policy Research Working Papers
Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003Carsten 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.
Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003Jeffrey 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.
Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003Carsten Fink, Aaditya Mattoo World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2002. No. 2852.
Every major regional trade agreement now has a services dimension. Is trade in services so different that there is need to modify the conclusions on preferential agreements pertaining to goods reached so far? Mattoo and Fink first examine the implications of unilateral policy choices in a particular services market. They then explore the economics of international cooperation and identify the circumstances in which a country is more likely to benefit from cooperation in a regional rather than multilateral forum.
Опубликовано на портале: 16-12-2003L. Alan Winters, Maurice Schiff World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2002. No. 2872.
Schiff and Winters examine regional cooperation among neighboring countries in the area of regional public goods. These public goods include water basins (such as lakes, rivers, and underground water), infrastructure (such as roads, railways, and dams), energy, and the environment. Their analysis focuses on developing countries and the potentially beneficial role that international organizations and regional integration may play in bringing the relevant countries to a cooperative equilibrium. A major problem in reaching a cooperative solution is likely to be the lack of trust. If neighboring countries do not trust each other because of past problems, they may fail to reach a cooperative solution as each tries to maximize its gain from the regional public good. These strategies typically do not account for spillover effects and ultimately leads to losses for all parties. Other constraints on reaching a cooperative solution are its complexity and the financial requirements. Two types of institutions may help resolve some or all of these problems. International organizations can help with trust, expertise, and financing. The United Nations and the World Bank have been involved in a number of such projects in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere, and have been successful in helping parties reach cooperative solutions. Regional integration agreements, though not necessary for regional cooperation, may also be helpful by embedding the negotiations on regional cooperation in a broader institutional framework. The authors examine these issues with the support of both analysis and a number of case studies.
Опубликовано на портале: 08-12-2003George Psacharopoulos, Harry Anthony Patrinos World Bank Policy Research Working Papers. 2002. No. 2881.
Returns to investment in education based on human capital theory have been estimated since the late 1950s. In the 40-plus year history of estimates of returns to investment in education, there have been several reviews of the empirical results in attempts to establish patterns. Many more estimates from a wide variety of countries, including over time evidence, and estimates based on new econometric techniques, reaffirm the importance of human capital theory. This paper reviews and presents the latest estimates and patterns as found in the literature at the turn of the century. However, because the availability of rate of return estimates has grown exponentially, we include a new section on the need for selectivity in comparing returns to investment in education and establishing related patterns.