Iacovone, Leonardo

Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness, The World Bank
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Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness, The World Bank
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Citations 182 Scopus

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Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
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    Multi-Product Exporters : Diversification and Micro-Level Dynamics
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-09) Iacovone, Leonardo ; Javorcik, Beata S.
    Recent developments in trade theory, especially research on multi-product firms, have not been matched by similar progress on the empirical front. This paper aims to fill this gap by presenting a novel set of stylized facts on firm-product dynamics observed during an export boom. This exercise is possible thanks to a unique firm-product level dataset covering about 85 percent of Mexican industrial output for the period 1994-2003. The main findings are as follows. First, there is a substantial degree of product turnover at the firm-product level in response to declining trade costs. Second, "core competencies" - the fact that firms have a cost advantage or greater expertise at manufacturing some of their products - are the main driver of firms' decision to introduce or drop export products. Third, new exporters tend to "start small" in terms of both values and number of exported products. Fourth, even if the expansion in the number of exported products played a role in stimulating Mexican exports, the growth in volume of pre-existing products was the main driver of the export boom. Finally, the introduction of new export products is preceded by a surge in investment. These findings are in line with many, but not all, predictions of recent theoretical work.
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    Banking Crises and Exports : Lessons from the Past
    ( 2009-08) Iacovone, Leonardo ; Zavacka, Veronika
    This paper analyzes the impact of banking crises on manufacturing exports exploiting the fact that sectors differ in their needs for external financing. Relying on data from 23 banking crises episodes involving both developed and developing countries during the period 1980-2000 the authors separate the impact of banking crises on export growth from that of other exogenous shocks (i.e. demand shocks). Their findings show that during a crisis the export of sectors more dependent on external finance grow significantly less than other sectors. However, this result holds only for sectors depending more heavily on banking finance as opposed to inter-firm finance. Furthermore, sectors characterized by higher degree of assets tangibility appear to be more resilient in the face of a banking crisis. The effect of the banking crises on exports is robust and additional to external demand shocks. The effect of the latter is independent and additional to that of a banking shock, and is particularly significant for sectors producing durable goods.
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    The Better You Are the Stronger It Makes You : Evidence on the Asymmetric Impact of Liberalization
    ( 2009-05-01) Iacovone, Leonardo
    This paper studies how liberalization affects productivity growth using micro-level plant data. While previous studies have already shown the existence of a positive relationship between competition and economic performance, the novelty of this paper is that it analyzes not only the average impact of liberalization, but also goes "beyond the average" and shows how the liberalization can affect dissimilar plants in a different way. The author first develops a model which predicts that, while the impact of liberalization on productivity growth is positive "on average", more advanced firms tend to benefit more. In fact, liberalization generates two competing effects: on one side it spurs more innovative efforts because of the increased entry threat by foreign competitors, on the other side, enhanced competition curtails expected profits and reduces the funds available to finance innovative activities. The pro-competitive effect is weaker for less advanced firms as for them it is harder to catch-up with the "technology frontier". These predictions are then tested focusing on Mexican plants during the NAFTA liberalization. The results show that a 1 percent reduction in tariffs spurred productivity growth between 4 and 8 percent on average. However, for backward firms this effect is much weaker if not close to zero, otherwise for more advanced ones this effect is stronger with productivity growing between 11 and 13 percent. Consistent with the theoretical model the results are stronger in those sectors where the scope for innovative activities is more pronounced. These results are particularly important for policy makers because they suggest that while increasing competition may be good in spurring average productivity, it is also true that this effect does not hold for all type of firms, in particular more backward firms may need some complementary support policy to upgrade their capacities and keep up with the more competitive environment.