The paper examines the evolution and drivers of labor force participation in European regions, focusing on the effects of trade and technology. As in the United States, rural regions within European countries saw more pronounced declines (or smaller increases) in participation than urban regions. Unlike in the United States, however, trade and technology, captured here using novel measures of initial exposures to routinization and offshoring, did not result in detachment from the workforce in European regions. Instead, regions with high initial exposures to routinization and offshoring experienced so-far larger increases in participation, likely driven by an added second worker effect.
Mr. Ashoka Mody, Ms. Deniz O Igan, and Ms. Stefania Fabrizio
Despite the appreciation of the exchange rate, the eight Central and Eastern European countries (the CEE-8) that entered the European Union in May 2004 have achieved a decade of impressive export growth, expanding significantly their shares of world markets. Does this mean that the real exchange rate is irrelevant? If not, what other factors compensated for the appreciation to explain the apparently strong competitiveness of these economies? And will these favorable factors continue to power export growth? This paper places in international context the achievements of the CEE-8 and helps more broadly to identify the determinants of international competitiveness. Building from data at the six-digit level of disaggregation, it shows that the CEE-8 made an impressive shift in product quality and in the technological intensity of exports, and that these shifts associated with the structural transformation were also associated with increased market share. The analysis strongly suggests that, when trading in international markets, countries benefit from higher product quality. However, while the structural transformation achieved was valuable in raising market shares, the easy gains from this process may be over.
Bureaucratically organized systems tend to be less efficient than economies in which agents are free to choose their output targets, as well as the means to meet them. This paper presents a simple model of planner-manager interactions and shows how bureaucratic economies can end up in a low-effort, low-growth equilibrium even though they may have started in high-effort , high-growth equilibrium. The empirical evidence from eight Central and Eastern European countries during 1948-49 is consistent with our model results, namely, that the growth decline was systemic in nature. The results are applicable to countries in other regions with heavy bureaucratic involvement in the economy.