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Mr. Chris Papageorgiou, Fidel Perez-Sebastian, and Mr. Nikola Spatafora
We explore the contribution of product-quality upgrading to the export performance of six fast-growing Asian economies: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand. We focus on measuring the impact of quality upgrading on the changes in these countries’ sectoral export shares during 1970–2010. We build a multisector Ricardian trade model which allows for changes in product quality, and calibrate it to generate predictions about export volumes. Unlike previous literature, our approach allows estimation without employing domestic production data. Our results point to quality upgrading being a key driver of export shares.
Dongyeol Lee
In the last two decades, manufacturing industries in Korea have become more concentrated, and interconnectedness across industries and to foreign countries has risen via vertical relationships and trade linkages. This paper investigates the transmission of economic shocks in such a highly concentrated and interconnected structure, focusing on the role of vertical and trade linkages and using the industry-level international input-output data. The results suggest that, first, the role of vertical and trade linkages in propagating growth shocks from both domestic sources and external sources is important. Second, the growth impact of a few key sources of economic shocks is relatively large. These findings highlight that economic shocks in a few key industries and/or major trading partners that are transmitted through vertical and trade linkages can lead to large swings in the overall economy. This paper contributes to the understanding of the potential interactions between the industrial structure and economic growth and stability.
Dongyeol Lee
Through the 2000s, Korea’s export and import linkages to advanced and emerging markets increased significantly. At the same time, the correlation of output growth between Korea and these economies rose. This paper investigates the nature of the link between trade linkages and the comovement of international business cycles (BC) using Korean industry-level domestic and international input-output data. The results suggest that, at the industry-level, higher export linkages lead to a larger positive GDP growth comovement, while higher import linkages lead to higher negative employment growth comovement. Furthermore, the decomposition of aggregate BC comovement shows that the increase in trade with China has contributed the most to aggregate BC comovement, while the impact of trade linkages on BC comovement is propagated domestically via vertical linkages. These findings suggest that the Korean economy can be significantly affected by a few countries that are highly linked through trade to Korea and/or a few industries that are highly interconnected to other industries.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper analyzes monetary policy and financial cycles; the evolution of macroprudential policies in Korea; the efficacy in prudential policies in taming financial excess and building financial resilience and; the interaction between monetary policy and macroprudential policies. Evidence for Korea suggests that financial stability will not necessarily materialize as a natural by-product of a so-called appropriate monetary policy stance. Although the effects of monetary and macroprudential instruments may overlap, they are not perfect substitutes. Macroprudential policies can also impact the banking system by affecting bank funding costs through the net interest margin. In certain circumstances borrower-based prudential measures and monetary policy can complement one another. Macroprudential policies can impact banks profitability. Policymakers should be mindful that macroprudential policy is not free of costs and that there may be trade-offs between the stability and the efficiency of financial systems.
Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov
Industrial policy is tainted with bad reputation among policymakers and academics and is often viewed as the road to perdition for developing economies. Yet the success of the Asian Miracles with industrial policy stands as an uncomfortable story that many ignore or claim it cannot be replicated. Using a theory and empirical evidence, we argue that one can learn more from miracles than failures. We suggest three key principles behind their success: (i) the support of domestic producers in sophisticated industries, beyond the initial comparative advantage; (ii) export orientation; and (iii) the pursuit of fierce competition with strict accountability.
Manoj Atolia, Mr. Prakash Loungani, Milton Marquis, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
This paper takes a fresh look at the current theories of structural transformation and the role of private and public fundamentals in the process. It summarizes some representative past and current experiences of various countries vis-a-vis structural transformation with a focus on the roles of manufacturing, policy, and the international environment in shaping the trajectory of structural transformation. The salient aspects of the current debate on premature deindustrialization and its relation to a middle-income trap are described as they relate to the path of structural transformation. Conclusions are drawn regarding prospective future paths for structural transformation and development policies.
Jae Chung and Mr. Lev Ratnovski
The paper offers a method to quantify benefits and costs of corporate debt restructuring, with an application to Korea. We suggest a "persistent ICR 1" criterion to capture firms that had ICR 1 for multiple consecutive years and thus will likely require restructuring. We assess the benefits of debt restructuring by estimating the effects of removing a firm's debt overhang on its investment and hiring decisions. We refine the assumptions on the cost of debt restructuring based on the literature, and focus not only on creditor losses, but also on the employment impact of corporate restructuring. Benchmark results for Korea suggest 5.5-7.5 percent of GDP creditor losses and a 0.4-0.9 percent of the labor force employment impact from the debt restructuring. These are compensated by a permanent 0.4-0.9 percentage points increase in future GDP growth thanks to higher corporate investment and 0.05-0.1 percent of labor force higher hiring in the subsequent years. The key qualitative result is that corporate debt restructurings "pay off" in the medium term: their economic cost is recouped over about 10 years.
Reda Cherif, Fuad Hasanov, and Min Zhu


The “Gulf Falcons”—the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council—have high living standards as a result of large income flows from oil. The decline of oil prices between summer 2014 and fall 2015 underscores the urgency for the Gulf Falcons to diversify away from their current heavy reliance on oil exports. This book discusses attempts at diversification in the Middle East and North Africa and the complex choices policymakers face. It brings together the views of academics and policymakers to offer practical advice for future efforts to increase productivity growth.

Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov
Only a few European economies and Korea and Taiwan Province of China reached high-income status during 1970-2010. Malaysia’s real income per capita increased to 26 percent of the U.S. level in 2010 from 20 percent in 1970. Despite relatively strong growth and a substantial improvement in export sophistication, Malaysia’s total factor productivity lagged behind that of Korea and Taiwan Province of China. We argue that what characterizes their experience in contrast to Malaysia’s is the creation of technologies by domestic firms and a push to leapfrog to the technological frontier at an early stage of development.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Alun H. Thomas, Mr. Rodrigo Garcia-Verdu, and Ms. Yingyuan Chen
This paper documents stylized facts on the process of structural transformation around the world and empirically analyzes its determinants using data on real value added by sector of economic activity (agriculture, manufacturing and services) for a panel of 168 countries over the period 1970-2010. The analysis points to large differences in sector shares both across and within regions as well as for countries at similar levels of economic development. Using both linear and quantile regression methods, it finds that a large proportion of the cross-country variation in sector shares can be accounted for by country characteristics, such as real GDP per capita, demographic structure, and population size. It also finds that policy and insitutional variables, such as product market reforms, openness to trade, human and physical capital, and finance improve the baseline model’s ability to account for the variation in sectoral shares across countries.