Using firm-level census data and the 2009 parliamentary elections episode, we show that sectors that include politically connected firms (PCFs) in Lebanon create less jobs compared to otherwise similar sectors with no connected firms. At the same time, we find that politically connected firms create more jobs than otherwise similar non-politically connected firms. We argue that these findings suggest that PCFs are used for clientelistic purposes in Lebanon, exchanging privileges for new jobs that benefit their patrons’ supporters. We also show that the existence of PCFs in a sector reduces net job creation by reducing sharply the growth of non-PCFs. All these effects were larger during the 2009 election year. Based on several pieces of evidence, we argue that the most likely explanation of this phenomenon is that unfair competition by PCFs hurts their direct competitors and reduces their incentives to invest and innovate.
Do export sanctions cause export deflection? Data on Iranian non-oil exporters between January 2006 and June 2011 shows that two-thirds of these exports were deflected to non-sanctioning countries after sanctions were imposed in 2008, and that at this time aggregate exports actually increased. Exporting firms reduced prices and increased quantities when exporting to a new destination, however, and suffered welfare losses as a result.
The importance of business environment in creating better economic outcome is widely accepted, but how to improve the business environment is far from settled. Among the available tools to use is the World Bank’s Doing Business project. While many governments aim to achieve higher standing on the Doing Business Ranking, the actual process to achieve the goal is less clear. For example, the Abe Administration aims to improve Japan’s rank to one of the top three among high-income OECD countries. This paper clarifies what it takes for Japan to achieve this goal. By looking at details of the World Bank Doing Business ranking, we identify various reforms that Japan could implement to improve the ranking. Then, we classify the reforms into six groups depending on whether the reform requires legal changes and on political resistance that the reform is likely to face. By just doing the reforms that do not require legal changes and are not likely to face strong political opposition, Japan could improve the ranking to 13th if the conditions in the other countries did not change. To be in the top 3, Japan would need to implement all the reforms that are not likely to face strong political resistance, but the reforms that would be resisted strongly are not necessary, if the other countries do not reduce the cost of doing business. The experience of the past years shows that this assumption is unrealistic. Thus, in order to be one of the top three countries among OECD countries in terms of ease of doing business, Japan would most likely need to carry out all the reforms including those with high political resistance. The methodology in this paper can be also applied to other countries.
After matching a rich micro-level Iranian customs dataset with a macro-level cross-country database on Iranian diaspora stocks, we establish that diaspora matters for dynamics of Iranian exporters. We document the extent to which Iranian emigrants foster exports through both intensive and extensive margins at the micro-level. We show that destinations with more emigrants from Iran attract more Iranian exporters and allow them to survive longer and grow faster. One plausible explanation is that the diaspora channel reduces the fixed cost of exporting that Iranian exporters incur to enter a destination, those related to creating distribution channels, and those associated with learning about market demand. Our results add firm-level insight to the burgeoning literature on the channels through which emigration could impact economic integration. As Iran is now trying to integrate more with the global economy, these results suggest that Iranian embassies across the world have a role to play in bridging the gap between Iranian diaspora and exporters through trade promotion exhibitions and workshops to encourage greater trade between Iran and the rest of the world.
One of the fascinating aspects of the European debt crisis has been the resilience of the euro. For much of 2011, the euro was a key reserve currency, oblivious to the chaos ravaging European economies. Now, however, the gravity of the crisis is finally dragging down the euro. As the Euro zone debt crisis enters its third uncertain year, the question about whether the euro can survive rises. This paper argues that the euro can survive given policymakers still have in hand various tools. These tools include creating exit rules, implementing new stabilisation rules and instruments, adopting new fiscal policy, introducing conditional Eurobonds, using inflation differentials and providing more independence to the European Central Bank.
It is argued that compared with large countries, small countries rely more on trade and therefore are more likely to adopt liberal trading policies. The present paper extends this idea beyond the conventional trade openness measures by analyzing the relationship between country size and the number of documents required to export and import, a measure of trade facilitation. Three important results follow. First, trade facilitation does improve as country size becomes smaller; that is, small countries perform better than large countries in terms of trade facilitation. Second, the relationship between country size and trade facilitation is nonlinear, much stronger for the relatively small than the large countries. Third, contrary to what existing studies might suggest, the relationship between country size and trade facilitation does not appear to be driven by the fact that small countries trade more as a proportion of their gross domestic product than the large countries.
What is the current state of sovereign credit risk across the Eurozone? Does the recent fiscal crisis extend to other (non-Eurozone) countries? Is Greece the centre of the problem? How did the current fiscal crisis in the Euro area start? Who is behind it? How can it evolve? How can it be addressed? And, is a fiscally challenged country likely to want to leave the Eurozone? This article addresses these questions, argues that a fiscally weak country is better off in the Eurozone than outside it, and finds that a feasible policy tool can be a bailout associated with tough fiscal conditionality. It also shows that sovereign credit risk adjustment in the Eurozone can happen, using various measures, but not without ‘fiscal pain’.
The Eurozone recent crisis has shown how balance of payments problems in less developed European Monetary Union (EMU) member countries can affect EMU trading partners, spreading the crisis to a larger group of countries. This paper introduces a three-country dynamic general equilibrium model to analyze whether and how terms of trade effects can generate a spillover effect or a currency crisis transmission between countries. Specifically, using a two period model, it incorporates world market clearing conditions for tradables into a new theoretic model, analyzes net capital flow movements between countries, and establishes cross-border macroeconomic linkages. This paper shows how a currency crisis can transmit through the real (trade) sector channel of the economy.
Recent literature tried to explain the Indian growth miracle in different ways, ranging from trade liberalization to industrial reforms. Using data on Indian manufacturing firms, this paper analyzes the relationship between firm's productivity and export market participation during 1991–2004. While it provides evidence of the self-selection hypothesis by showing that more productive firms become exporters, the results do not show that entry into export markets enhances productivity. The paper examines the explanation of self selection hypothesis for total factor productivity differences across 33,510 exporting and non-exporting firms. It uses propensity score matching to test the learning-by-exporting hypothesis. In line with the prediction of recent heterogeneous firm models of international trade, the main finding of the paper is: more productive firms become exporters but it is not the case that learning by exporting is a channel fuelling growth in Indian manufacturing.
There is a large literature that finds that common law countries perform better than civil law countries in various aspects of the institutional environment. This article extends these findings to another dimension of institutional quality--the cost of registering property. In a sample of 121 countries, we find that the cost of registering property is lower by 26 percent of the world average in common law compared with civil law countries, a result largely driven by differences in non-notary costs of registering property. We provide plausible explanations for these findings.
I investigate the link between business regulatory reforms and economic growth in 172 countries. I create a 5 year dataset on business regulatory reforms from the World Bank’s Doing Business reports. Then, I test the hypothesis that business regulatory reforms increase economic growth, using data on micro-economic reforms. These data do not suffer the endogeneity issues associated with other datasets on changes in economic institutions. The results provide a robust support for the claim that business regulatory reforms are good for economic growth. The paper establishes that, on average, each business regulatory reform is associated with a 0.15% increase in growth rate of GDP.
This paper aims to highlight key limitations of The Economist magazine’s Big Mac Index (BMI). The Economist markets the BMI as a tool to determine valuation of currencies. This paper shows that the BMI is a misleading measure of currency valuation for economies whose markets are structurally different from the benchmark currency countries.
The paper shows that the effect of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) is ambiguous. It discusses the benefits and costs of mark-to-market valuation and design of executive pay package policies within the US 2009 EESA. It highlights how the mark-to-market valuation standard influenced financial institutions, explains why mark-to-market policy suspension proponents can support the EESA, and realizes how the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) can count on the EESA while assessing the need and cost of the mark-to-market policy. Also, the paper discusses the promise of executive wage caps within the EESA. Moreover, it differentiates between executive pay packages pre- and post-EESA policies.
Using objective measures of investor protections in 170 countries, I establish that the level of investor protection matters for cross-country differences in GDP growth: countries with stronger protections tend to grow faster than those with poor investor protections.