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Mr. Nadeem Ilahi, Mrs. Armine Khachatryan, William Lindquist, Ms. Nhu Nguyen, Ms. Faezeh Raei, and Jesmin Rahman
In the past 25 years, exports have contributed strongly to growth and economic convergence in many small open economies. However, the Western Balkan (WB) region, consisting of small emerging market economies, has not fully availed itself of this driver of growth and convergence. A lack of openness, reliance on low value products, and weak competitiveness largely explain the insignificant role of trade and exports in the region’s economic performance. This paper focuses on how the countries in the WB could lift exports through stronger integration with global value chains (GVCs) and broadening of services exports. The experience of countries that joined the European Union in or after 2004 shows that participation in GVCs can help small economies accelerate export and income growth. WB countries are not well integrated into Europe’s vibrant GVCs. Trade within the region is also limited—it tends to be bilateral and not cluster-like. Our analysis shows that by improving infrastructure and labor skills and adopting trade policies that ensure investor protection and harmonize regulations and legal provisions, the region can greatly enhance its engagement with GVCs. Services exports are an increasingly important part of global trade, and they offer an untapped source of growth. The magnitude of services exports from the WB region compares favorably with that of peers in Europe, particularly in travel services where several of these countries have a revealed comparative advantage. But there is significant room for growth in tourism exports and an untapped potential in business and information technology services exports that these countries can materialize through policy efforts that increase openness and enhance connectivity and labor skills. Serbia offers a good example of how decisive efforts, including education policies to ensure a sustained supply of skilled labor, can help information technology services exports to take off.
Raju Huidrom, Nemanja Jovanovic, Mr. Carlos Mulas-Granados, Ms. Laura Papi, Ms. Faezeh Raei, Mr. Emil Stavrev, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Europe is deeply integrated into global value chains and recent trade tensions raise the question of how European economies would be affected by the introduction of tariffs or other trade barriers. This paper estimates the impact of trade shocks and growth spillovers using value added measures to better gauge the associated costs across European countries.
Mr. Peter J Kunzel, Phil De Imus, Mr. Edward R Gemayel, Risto Herrala, Mr. Alexei P Kireyev, and Farid Talishli
The Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) countries are at an important juncture in their economic transition. Following significant economic progress during the 2000s, recent external shocks have revealed the underlying vulnerabilities of the current growth model. Lower commodity prices, weaker remittances, and slower growth in key trading partners reduced CCA growth, weakened external and fiscal balances, and raised public debt. the financial sector was also hit hard by large foreign exchange losses. while commodity prices have recovered somewhat since late 2014, to boost its economic potential, the region needs to find new growth drivers, diversify away from natural resources, remittances, and public spending, and generate much stronger private sector-led activity.
Céline Allard, Mr. Jorge I Canales Kriljenko, Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia, Emmanouil Kitsios, Mr. Juan P Trevino, and Ms. Wenjie Chen
This analysis of the extent of trade integration of sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries in the global economy as well as within the region over the 1995–2013 period focuses on four key concepts: (1) trade openness, captured by import and export flows; (2) the centrality in the global and regional trade network, a measure that takes into account not only the size of trade but also the number of trade partners and the respective weight of these trade partners in global trade; (3) gravity model estimates that account for country- and region-specific determinants of bilateral trade flows; and (4) global value chain (GVC) integration. Using both existing data and a newly available dataset based on multiregion input and output tables, this analysis led to several findings: (1) trade openness has increased strongly; (2) integration in the global economy has made the region more vulnerable to external shocks; (3) levels of trade flows emanating from sub-Saharan Africa are still only half the magnitude of those experienced elsewhere in the world; (4) the region still has ways to go to better integrate in GVCs; and (5) it is more critical than ever to make progress in filling the infrastructure gap by lowering tariff and nontariff barriers, improving the business climate and access to credit, and continuing to enhance education outcomes.