Journal articles published externally

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These are journal articles by World Bank authors published externally.

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The Microeconomic Determinants of Emigration and Return Migration of the Best and Brightest: Evidence from the Pacific

2011, Gibson, John, McKenzie, David

A unique survey which tracks worldwide the best and brightest academic performers from three Pacific countries is used to assess the extent of emigration and return migration among the very highly skilled, and to analyze, at the microeconomic level, the determinants of these migration choices. Although we estimate that the income gains from migration are very large, not everyone migrates and many return. Within this group of highly skilled individuals the emigration decision is found to be most strongly associated with preference variables such as risk aversion and patience, and choice of subjects in secondary school, and not strongly linked to either liquidity constraints or to the gain in income to be had from migrating. Likewise, the decision to return is strongly linked to family and lifestyle reasons, rather than to the income opportunities in different countries. Overall the data suggest a relatively limited role for income maximization in distinguishing migration propensities among the very highly skilled, and a need to pay more attention to other components of the utility maximization decision.

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Transparency and Regional Integration in the Asia Pacific

2009, Helble, Matthias, Shepherd, Ben, Wilson, John S.

We show in this paper that increasing the transparency of the trading environment can be an important complement to traditional liberalisation of tariff and non-tariff barriers. Our definition of transparency is grounded in a transaction cost analysis. We focus on two dimensions of transparency: predictability (reducing the cost of uncertainty) and simplification (reducing information costs). Using the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies as a case study, we construct indices of importer and exporter transparency for the region from a wide range of sources. Our results from a gravity model suggest that improving trade-related transparency in APEC could hold significant benefits by raising intra-APEC trade by approximately US $148 billion or 7.5 per cent of baseline trade in the region. Action to improve transparency measures examined could be undertaken in many forms, including within the current APEC framework or future talks on a Free Trade Area in the Asia Pacific.

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East Asian Preferential Trade Agreements in Services : Liberalization Content and WTO Rules

2008, Fink, Carsten, Molinuevo, Martin

The past seven years have seen a rapid proliferation of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) in the East Asian region. Many of the recently concluded PTAs are comprehensive in their coverage, seeking not only the dismantling of barriers to trade in goods but also the liberalization of trade in services. This paper offers an assessment of this recent wave of services agreements in East Asia, focusing on their liberalization content and their compliance with WTO rules on regional integration. It draws on a database in which the authors recorded the value added of PTA liberalization undertakings relative to pre-existing multilateral services commitments. Among other things, this database is used to empirically assess the effect of the scheduling approach on the depth and breadth of liberalization undertakings.

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Openness and Technological Innovation in East Asia: Have They Increased the Demand for Skills?

2010, Almeida, Rita K.

This paper examines whether the increased openness and technological innovation in East Asia have contributed to an increased demand for skills in the region. We explore a unique firm level data set across eight countries in the East Asia and Pacific region. Our results strongly support the idea that greater openness and technological innovation have increased the demand for skills, especially in middle-income countries. In particular, while the presence in international markets has been skill enhancing for most middle-income countries, this is not the case for manufacturing firms operating in China and in low-income countries. We interpret this to be supporting the premise that, if international integration in the region continues to intensify and technology continues to be skilled biased, policies aimed at mitigating the skills shortages should produce continual and persistent increase in skills.

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Understanding Bilateral FDI Flows in Developing Asia

2009, Hattari, Rabin, Rajan, Ramkishen S.

Unlike trade flows, there has been little to no detailed examination of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows between Asian economies. This paper uses bilateral FDI flows data to investigate trends in intra-Asian FDI flows over the period 1990-2005. It employs an augmented gravity model to identify the main determinants of intra-Asian FDI flows. Possible drivers of FDI flows, including transactional and informational distance (proxied by distance), real sector variables, financial variables, and quality of institutions are examined.

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Political Violence and Underdevelopment

2008, Bodea, Cristina, Elbadawi, Ibrahim A.

This paper analyses the economic growth impact of organised political violence. First, we identify the various manifestations of political violence (riots, coups and civil war) and their risk of occurrence by using a multinomial model. Second, we use predicted probabilities of aggregate violence and its three manifestations to identify their growth effects in an encompassing growth model. The results of Generalised Method of Moments dynamic panel regressions suggest that organised political violence, especially civil war, significantly lowers long-term economic growth. Moreover, unlike most previous studies, we also find ethnic fractionalisation to have a negative and direct effect on growth, though its effect is substantially ameliorated by the institutions specific to a non-factional democratic society. Third, we find that Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has been disproportionately impacted by civil war, which explains a substantial share of its economic decline, including the widening income gap relative to East Asia. Civil wars have also been very costly for SSA. For the case of Sudan, a typical large African country experiencing a long-duration conflict, war cost amounts to $46 billion (in 2000 fixed prices), which is roughly double the country's current stock of external debt. Fourth, we suggest that to break free from its conflict-underdevelopment trap, Africa needs to better manage its ethnic diversity and the way to do it is to develop inclusive, non-factional democracy. A democratic but factional polity will not do the trick and is only marginally better than authoritarian regimes.

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Gravity and Friction in Growing East Asia

2009, Gill, Indermit

Without the advantages of low wages or high skills, East Asian economies are following a new path of regional integration, led by China. Along this path, policy-makers must manage a migration of 2 million people a month to East Asia's cities, a sharp and unprecedented increase in income inequality, and a growing discontent with corruption as governance structures have been decentralized. Having successfully integrated globally before the financial meltdown of the 1990s, and integrating regionally at an even faster pace since then, East Asia's middle-income countries must now accelerate a third integration, this time at home. Growth based on scale economies and specialization requires managing both gravity and friction. This article outlines what East Asian nations must do to manage these forces even as another financial meltdown is taking place. How well they can do this will determine whether they will grow through middle income to join the ranks of developed economies or not escape the 'middle-income trap'.

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Gender, Culture, and Corruption: Insights from an Experimental Analysis

2009, Alatas, Vivi, Cameron, Lisa, Chaudhuri, Ananish, Erkal, Nisvan, Gangadharan, Lata

A substantial body of recent research looks at differences in the behavior of men and women in diverse economic transactions. We contribute to this literature by investigating gender differences in behavior when confronted with a common bribery problem. Our study departs from the previous literature on gender and corruption by using economic experiments. Based on data collected in Australia (Melbourne), India (Delhi), Indonesia (Jakarta), and Singapore, we show that while women in Australia are less tolerant of corruption than men in Australia, no significant gender differences are seen in India, Indonesia, and Singapore. Hence, our findings suggest that the gender differences reported in previous studies may not be as universal as stated, and may be more culture specific. We also explore behavioral differences by gender across countries and find larger variations in women's behavior toward corruption than in men's across the countries in our sample.