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
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Publication(World Bank, Jakarta, 2015-04) Javorcik, Beata ; Iacovone, Leonardo ; Fitrani, FitriaPolicy attitude towards trade integration and foreign direct investment (FDI) is often a controversial yet popular subject. This note presents evidences from recent policy researches that arguing that engaging in an open trade and investment regime have brought productivity gains which is key factor for sustaining increase in income per-capita. Evidence from Indonesia also suggests that foreign owned plants have become increasingly important, generating a significant share of exports and overall output, as well as more productive and more export intensive than domestic plants, and to spend more on RD and training. FDI also have positive impact on firms in the same sector, through competition and demonstration effects, and in upstream sectors, as suppliers to foreign-owned plants improve the quality of their own products to meet their clients more exacting needs. Evidence also suggests a positive impact from import competition in improving allocative efficiency across manufacturing plants which is a key element in driving productivity in manufacturing sector.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-04) Iacovone, Leonardo ; Pereira-Lopez, Mariana ; Schiffbauer, MarcThis paper presents a set of stylized facts on the relation between information and communications technology (ICT) use, firm performance, and competition. Taking advantage of a novel firm-level data set on information and communications technology for Mexico, the study finds that firms facing higher competition appear to have more incentives to increase their use of information and communications technology. Accordingly, although there is indeed a positive relation between information and communications technology use and firm performance, this effect is greater for firms that face higher competition pressures, which is consistent with the theoretical predictions of the trade-induced technical change hypothesis.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-04) Iacovone, Leonardo ; Pereira-Lopez, Mariana ; Schiffbauer, MarcThis paper uses a unique firm-level data set for Mexico, with information never used for research before, to assess how use of information technology (IT henceforth) influences firm performance. Further, the paper explores if, in the context of increasing competition from China, this effect is different for firms more strongly affected by competition where incentives for upgrading and innovation may be more intense. In this perspective, the paper analyzes the complementarity between IT and other changes spurred by competition, taking advantage of the exogenous shock generated by Chinese competition. The results indicate that IT use has higher effects over productivity in the case of firms facing higher competition from China, in the domestic market and in the U.S. market. Furthermore, the paper shows how these changes appear to be driven by complementary investments in innovation and organizational changes.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-10) Cali, Massimiliano ; Cantore, Nicola ; Iacovone, Leonardo ; Pereira-Lopez, Mariana ; Presidente, GiorgioThis paper provides novel evidence on the impact of changes in energy prices on manufacturing performance in two large developing economies -- Indonesia and Mexico. It finds that unlike increases in electricity prices, which harm plants' performance, fuel price hikes result in higher productivity and profits of manufacturing plants. The results of instrumental variable estimation imply that a 10 percent increase in fuel prices would lead to a 3.3 percent increase in total factor productivity for Indonesian and 1.2 percent for Mexican plants. The evidence suggests that effects are driven by the incentives that fuel price increases provide to plants towards replacing inefficient fuel-powered with more productive electricity-powered capital equipment. These results help to re-evaluate the policy trade-off between reducing carbon emissions and improving economic performance, particularly in countries with large fuel subsidies such as Indonesia and Mexico.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022) Iacovone, Leonardo ; Munoz Moreno, Rafael ; Olaberria, Eduardo ; Pereira Lopez, Mariana De La PazThe report undertakes, for the first time, a comprehensive firm-level analysis of the entire Mexican economy over 25 years, relying on the last six rounds of the Economic Census, which were conducted between 1994 and 2019 and surveyed more than 20 million businesses. It finds that Mexico’s disappointing aggregate productivity masks large differences in productivity levels and growth across locations, sectors, and firms. A geographic productivity divide runs between the North-Center and South of Mexico, but large differences also persist between municipalities within regions. Fast-growing municipalities that have caught up to the Mexican productivity frontier, including in the South, while others have failed to grow at all. There is also a divide between modern firms, with access to finance and strong management, integrated into global value chains (GVCs), and more traditional firms characterized by limited access to finance and weak capabilities, unable to benefit from Mexico’s regional and global integration. The report shows that Mexico’s aggregate productivity is weakened by structural factors at industry and firm level — access to finance, lack of incentives to invest in technology, managerial capacities, and the business environment — that impede productive firms’ access to resources. The rest of this summary gives a synopsis of the report’s main findings and recommendations.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-10) Cirera, Xavier ; Cruz, Marcio ; Grover, Arti ; Iacovone, Leonardo ; Medvedev, Denis ; Pereira-Lopez, Mariana ; Reyes, SantiagoBuilding on prior work that documented the impact of COVID-19 on firms in developing countries using the first wave of Business Pulse Surveys, this paper presents a new set of stylized facts on firm recovery, covering 65,000 observations in 38 countries. This paper suggests that: One, since the outset of the pandemic, some aspects of business performance such as sales show signs of partial recovery. Two, other aspects remain challenging, including persistently high uncertainty and financial fragility. Three, recovery is heterogeneous across firms and more sensitive to firm-level attributes such as size, sector, and initial productivity than to country-level differences in the severity of the initial shock. In particular, larger and more productive firms are recovering faster, with implications for competition policy and allocative efficiency. Four, the decline in jobs has been steeper during the initial shock than the expansion in employment during recovery, raising the risk of a "jobless" recovery pattern. Five, the diffusion of digital technology and product innovation accelerated during the pandemic but did so unevenly, further widening gaps between small and large firms. Six, businesses now have more access to policy support, but poorer countries continue to lag behind and appropriate targeting of firms remains a challenge.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-01) Iacovone, Leonardo ; Pereira-Lopez, MarianaThis paper uses a panel of firms from the Mexican Economic Censuses and analyzes at the microeconomic level how labor markets adapt to the adoption of information and communication technologies. The paper studies the effects of the adoption of information and communication technologies over the labor structure of the firm and wages. Thus, it assesses whether increasing the use of information and communication technologies leads to an increasing demand for skilled relative to low-skilled labor, and, thus, analyzes its effects on the wage gap between the two groups. The results of this analysis show that there is indeed an effect of the adoption of information and communication technologies over the demand for higher-skilled workers. However, for the manufacturing and services sectors, instead of increasing the wage gap between skilled and unskilled workers, the wage gap decreases. The results for the manufacturing sector appear to be driven by an increasing sophistication of blue-collar workers due to the organizational adjustments derived from the adoption of information and communication technologies.
Publication(Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2016-04-21) Iacovone, Leonardo ; Pereira-Lopez, Mariana ; Schiffbauer, MarcIn this paper the authors present a set of stylized facts regarding the relation between information and communication technologies (ICT) use, firm performance, and competition. Taking advantage of a novel firm-level data set regarding ICT for Mexico, the authors find that firms facing higher competition appear to be the ones that have more incentives to increase their use of ICT. Accordingly, even though there is indeed a positive relation between ICT use and firm performance, this effect is greater for firms that face higher competition pressures, which is consistent with the theoretical predictions of the trade-induced technical change hypothesis.