Lin, Justin Yifu

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Last updated January 31, 2023
Justin Yifu Lin is the former World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Development Economics. In his capacity, Mr. Lin guided the Bank’s intellectual leadership and played a key role in shaping the economic research agenda of the institution. Building on a distinguished career as one of China’s leading economists, Mr. Lin is undertaking an ambitious research program that examines the industrialization of rapidly developing countries and sheds new light on the causes of lagging growth in poor regions. He took up his World Bank position on June 2, 2008, after serving for 15 years as Professor and Founding Director of the China Centre for Economic Research (CCER) at Peking University.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 48
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    Leading Dragon Phenomenon : New Opportunities for Catch-up in Low-Income Countries
    (Asian Development Bank and Asian Development Bank Institute, 2013-03) Chandra, Vandana ; Lin, Justin Yifu ; Wang, Yan
    Modern economic development is accompanied by the structural transformation from an agrarian to an industrial economy. Since the 18th century, all countries that industrialized successfully have followed their comparative advantages and leveraged the latecomer advantage, including emerging market economies such as the People's Republic of China (PRC), India, and Indonesia. The current view is that Chinese dominance in manufacturing hinders poor countries from developing similar industries. We argue that rising labor cost is causing the PRC to graduate from labor-intensive to more capital-intensive and technology-intensive industries. This will result in the relocation of low-skill manufacturing jobs to other low-wage countries. This process, which we call the “leading dragon phenomenon,” offers an unprecedented opportunity to low-income countries. Such economies can seize this opportunity by attracting the rising outward foreign direct investment flowing from Brazil, the PRC, India, and Indonesia into the manufacturing sectors. All low-income countries can compete for the jobs spillover from the PRC and other emerging economies, but the winner must implement credible economic development strategies that are consistent with its comparative advantage.
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    The Rejuvenation of Industrial Policy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-09) Stiglitz, Joseph E. ; Lin, Justin Yifu ; Monga, Célestin
    This essay is about an important area in which there has been major rethinking -- industrial policy, by which the authors mean government policies directed at affecting the economic structure of the economy. The standard argument was that markets were efficient, so there was no need for government to intervene either in the allocation of resources across sectors or in the choices of technique. And even if markets were not efficient, governments were not likely to improve matters. But the 2008-2009 global financial crisis showed that markets were not necessarily efficient and, indeed, there was a broad consensus that without strong government intervention -- which included providing lifelines to certain firms and certain industries -- the market economies of the United States and Europe may have collapsed. Today, the relevance and pertinence of industrial policies are acknowledged by mainstream economists and political leaders from all sides of the ideological spectrum. But what exactly is industrial policy? Why has it raised so much controversy and confusion? What is the compelling new rationale that seems to bring mainstream economists to acknowledge the crucial importance of industrial policy and revisit some of the fundamental assumptions of economic theory and economic development? How can industrial policy be designed to avoid the pitfalls of some of the seeming past failures and to emulate some of the past successes? What are the contours of the emerging consensus and remaining issues and open questions? The paper addresses these questions.
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    New Structural Economics : A Framework for Rethinking Development
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-02) Lin, Justin Yifu
    As strategies for achieving sustainable growth in developing countries are re-examined in light of the financial crisis, it is critical to take into account structural change and its corollary, industrial upgrading. Economic literature has devoted a great deal of attention to the analysis of technological innovation, but not enough to these equally important issues. The new structural economics outlined in this paper suggests a framework to complement previous approaches in the search for sustainable growth strategies. It takes the following into consideration: First, an economy's structure of factor endowments evolves from one stage of development to another. Therefore, the optimal industrial structure of a given economy will be different at different stages of development. Each industrial structure requires corresponding infrastructure (both "hard" and "soft") to facilitate its operations and transactions. Second, each stage of economic development is a point along the continuum from a low-income agrarian economy to a high-income industrialized economy, not a dichotomy of two economic development stages ("poor" versus "rich" or "developing" versus "industrialized"). Industrial upgrading and infrastructure improvement targets in developing countries should not necessarily draw from those that exist in high-income countries. Third, at each given stage of development, the market is the basic mechanism for effective resource allocation. However, economic development as a dynamic process requires industrial upgrading and corresponding improvements in "hard" and "soft" infrastructure at each stage. Such upgrading entails large externalities to firms' transaction costs and returns to capital investment. Thus, in addition to an effective market mechanism, the government should play an active role in facilitating industrial upgrading and infrastructure improvements.
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    Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics--Regional 2008 : Higher Education and Development
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2008) Lin, Justin Yifu ; Pleskovic, Boris
    The Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) is one of the best-known conferences for the presentation and discussion of new knowledge on development. It is an opportunity for many of the world's finest development thinkers to present their ideas. The papers in this volume were presented at the ABCDE that was held on January 16-17, 2007, in Beijing, China. Each year the topics selected for the conference represent either new areas of concern for future research or areas that the author believes will benefit from a reexamination. The topic of the 2007 conference was 'higher education and development,' which encompassed five themes: higher education and migration, private-public provision of higher education, financing of higher education, technological innovation (linkages between universities and industry), and higher education and labor markets in Asia.
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    Financial Structure and Economic Development : A Reassessment
    (Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2013-09) Cull, Robert ; Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli ; Lin, Justin Yifu
    In this article the authors use quantile regressions to assess the relationship between economic and financial development at each percentile of the distribution of economic development. Thus; the quantile regressions provide information on how the associations between economic development and both bank and securities market development change as countries grow richer.
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    Banking Structure and Economic Growth : Evidence from China
    ( 2009) Lin, Justin Yifu ; Sun, Xifang
    With panel data for 28 Chinese provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities) during 1985-2002, this paper assesses the effect of banking structure on economic growth. Banking structure is defined as the relative importance of banks of different size in the banking sector. The market share of small banking institutions is taken as a proxy to measure the banking structure. In dealing with the potential endogeneity problem, this paper constructs an instrumental variable for banking structure with the information on the commercialization reform of state-owned banks initiated in 1994. The estimation results from a two-way fixed-effect model show that increases in the market share of small banking institutions enhance economic growth in contemporary China.
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    New Structural Economics : A Framework for Rethinking Development and Policy
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012-01-06) Lin, Justin Yifu
    The new structural economics argues that the best way to upgrade a country's endowment structure is to develop its industries at any specific time according to the comparative advantages determined by its given endowment structure at that time. The economy will be most competitive, the economic surplus will be the largest, and the capital accumulation and the upgrading of factor endowment structure will be the fastest possible. The 'New Structural Economics' presented in this book is an attempt to set out this third wave of development thinking. Taking into account the lessons learned from the growth successes and failures of the last decades, it advances a neoclassical approach to study the determinants and dynamics of economic structure. It postulates that the economic structure of an economy is endogenous to its factor endowment structure and that sustained economic development is driven by changes in factor endowments and continuous technological innovation. The paper also discusses binding constraints to growth in each of these industries' value chains as well as mechanisms through which governance-related issues in the implementation of industrial policy could be addressed.
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    Applying the Growth Identification and Facilitation Framework : The Case of Nigeria
    ( 2011-08-01) Lin, Justin Yifu ; Treichel, Volker
    This paper applies the Growth Identification and Facilitation Framework developed by Lin and Monga (2010) to Nigeria. It identifies as appropriate comparator countries China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam, and selects a wide range of industries in which these comparator countries may be losing their comparative advantage and which may therefore lend themselves to targeted interventions of the government to fast-track growth. These industries include food processing, light manufacturing, suitcases, shoes, car parts, and petrochemicals. The paper also discusses binding constraints to growth in each of these value chains as well as mechanisms through which governance-related issues in the implementation of industrial policy could be addressed.
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    Growth Identification and Facilitation : The Role of the State in the Dynamics of Structural Change
    ( 2010-05-01) Lin, Justin Yifu ; Monga, Celestin
    Active economic policies by developing countries governments to promote growth and industrialization have generally been viewed with suspicion by economists, and for good reasons: past experiences show that such policies have too often failed to achieve their stated objectives. But the historical record also indicates that in all successful economies, the state has always played an important role in facilitating structural change and helping the private sector sustain it across time. This paper proposes a new approach to help policymakers in developing countries identify those industries that may hold latent comparative advantage. It also recommends ways of removing binding constraints to facilitate private firms entry into those industries. The paper introduces an important distinction between two types of government interventions. First are policies that facilitate structural change by overcoming information and coordination and externality issues, which are intrinsic to industrial upgrading and diversification. Such interventions aim to provide information, compensate for externalities, and coordinate improvements in the "hard" and "soft" infrastructure that are needed for the private sector to grow in sync with the dynamic change in the economy s comparative advantage. Second are those policies aimed at protecting some selected firms and industries that defy the comparative advantage determined by the existing endowment structure either in new sectors that are too advanced or in old sectors that have lost comparative advantage.
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    The Financial Crisis and Its Impacts on Global Agriculture
    ( 2010-09-01) Lin, Justin Yifu ; Martin, Will
    The financial crisis arose in the industrial countries, but has affected developing countries through higher interest rates, sharp changes in commodity prices, and reductions in investment, trade, migration and remittances. For most low-income countries, shocks that affect food prices or wage rates for unskilled workers seem likely to have the largest impact on poverty, with the declines in key food prices associated with the crisis helping to reduce poverty, while declining trade, investment, and remittance flows have had adverse impacts on the poor. Policies to address the crisis must include measures to deal with financial sector problems, the resulting reductions in aggregate demand, and the particular vulnerabilities of poor people. Given the complexity of the impacts from financial crises and commodity price shocks, there is a strong case for developing better social safety net policies that can offset the adverse impacts of a wide range of different shocks on poor people without creating costly market distortions.