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Maloney, William

Office of the Chief Economist Latin America and the Caribbean Region
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Innovation, Labor Economics, Trade, Productivity, Private Sector Development, Financial Sector, Spatial economics
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Office of the Chief Economist Latin America and the Caribbean Region
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Last updated: October 3, 2023
Biography
William F. Maloney is Chief Economist for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. Mr. Maloney, a U.S. national, joined the Bank in 1998 as Senior Economist for the Latin America and Caribbean Region. He held various positions including Lead Economist in the Office of the Chief Economist for Latin America, Lead Economist in the Development Economics Research Group, Chief Economist for Trade and Competitiveness and Global Lead on Innovation and Productivity. He was most recently Chief Economist for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions (EFI) Vice Presidency. From 2011 to 2014 he was Visiting Professor at the University of the Andes and worked closely with the Colombian government on innovation and firm upgrading issues. Mr. Maloney received his PhD in Economics from the University of California Berkeley (1990), his BA from Harvard University (1981), and studied at the University of the Andes in Bogota, Colombia (1982-83). His research activities and publications have focused on issues related to international trade and finance, developing country labor markets, and innovation and growth, including several flagship publications about Latin America and the Caribbean.He has published in academic journals on issues related to international trade and finance, developing country labor markets, and innovation and growth as well as several flagship publications of the Latin American division of the Bank, including Informality: Exit and Exclusion;  Natural Resources: Neither Curse nor Destiny and Lessons from NAFTA, Does What you Export Matter: In Search of Empirical Guidance for Industrial Policy. Most recently, he published The innovation paradox: Developing Country Capabilities the Unrealized Potential of Technological Catch-Up and Harvesting Prosperity: Technology and Productivity Growth in Agriculture as part of the World Bank Productivity Project.  
Citations 202 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 28
  • Publication
    Firm Entry and Exit, Labor Demand, and Trade Reform : Evidence from Chile and Colombia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-08) Fajnzylber, Pablo; Maloney, William F.; Ribeiro, Eduardo
    There are increasing fears that trade reform - and globalization generally - will increase the uncertainty the average (especially less skilled) worker faces. If product markets become more competitive and the access to foreign inputs is increased, will demand for workers among existing firms become more elastic? Will labor markets become more volatile because bad shocks to output will translate into greater impacts on wages and employment? So far the literature on this question has focused almost entirely on labor demand within continuing firms. But much of the movement in the job market arises from the entry and exit of firms. The authors show that firms entering and exiting a market contribute almost as much to employment changes as firms continuing in a market. In several samples, firms entering and exiting affected the net change in-positions more than the expansion of continuing plants did, although contributions varied greatly across the business cycle and period of adjustment. Estimates of labor demand elasticities of entering and exiting firms were surprisingly similar in Chile and Colombia and somewhat higher than elasticities for firms that survived. Estimates of the effect of trade liberalization offer only ambiguous lessons on trade reform's probable impact on these elasticities. The data suggest that in Chile greater exchange rate protection does reduce the wage-employment elasticity of entering and exiting plants, but the results are reversed in Colombia's case. Moreover, in Colombia higher import penetration lowers the elasticity of labor demand and in Chile higher tariffs increase it. These findings, combined with very ambiguous results from probit regressions on the determinants of plant exit, suggest that circumspection is warranted in asserting that trade liberalization will increase the wage elasticity of labor demand.
  • Publication
    Lessons from NAFTA for Latin America and the Caribbean
    (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004-11) Lederman, Daniel; Maloney, William F.; Servén, Luis
    Analyzing the experience of Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), "Lessons from NAFTA" aims to provide guidance to Latin American and Caribbean countries considering free trade agreements with the United States. The authors conclude that the treaty raised external trade and foreign investment inflows and had a modest effect on Mexico's average income per person. It is likely that the treaty also helped achieve a modest reduction in poverty and an improvement in job quality.
  • Publication
    Trade Structure and Growth
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2003-04) Lederman, Daniel; Maloney, William F.
    Lederman and Maloney examine the empirical relationships between trade structure and economic growth, particularly the influence of natural resource abundance, export concentration, and intra-industry trade. They test the robustness of these relationships across proxies, control variables, and estimation techniques. The authors find trade variables to be important determinants of growth, especially natural resource abundance and export concentration. In contrast with much of the recent literature, natural resource abundance appears to have a positive effect on growth, whereas export concentration hampers growth, even after controlling for physical and human capital accumulation, among other factors.
  • Publication
    Spatial Dimensions of Trade Liberalization and Economic Convergence: Mexico 1985-2002
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-10) Aroca, Patricio; Bosch, Mariano; Maloney, William F.
    This paper studies the spatial dimension of growth in Mexico over the past three decades. The literature on regional economic growth shows a decrease in regional dispersion from 1970 to 1985, and a sharp increase afterward coinciding with the trade liberalization of the Mexican economy. Using spatial econometric, tools the authors analyze how the process of convergence/divergence has mapped spatially and whether it makes sense to talk about spatial regions in Mexico. Although the rich North-poor South dichotomy has dominated this phenomenon, interesting patterns emerge. Namely the distribution of growth after Mexico's post-liberalization seems to be much less associated with distance to the United States than the authors had initially expected.
  • Publication
    Innovation Shortfalls
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-07) Maloney, William
    There is a common perception that low productivity or low growth is due to what can be called an "innovation shortfall," usually identified as a low rate of investment in research and development (R&D) when compared with some high innovation countries. The usual reaction to this perceived problem is to call for increases in R&D investment rates, usually specifying a target that can be as high as 3 percent of GDP. The problem with this analysis is that it fails to see that a low R&D investment rate may be appropriate given the economy's pattern of specialization, or may be just one manifestation of more general problems that impede accumulation of all kinds of capital. How can we know when a country suffers from an innovation shortfall above and beyond the ones that should be expected given the country's specialization and accumulation patterns? This is the question the authors tackle in this paper. First, they show a simple way to estimate the R&D gap that can be explained by a country's specialization pattern, illustrating it for the case of Chile. For this country they find that although its specialization in natural-resource-intensive sectors explains part of its R&D gap, a significant shortfall remains. Second, the authors show how a calibrated model can be used to determine the R&D gap that should be expected given a country's investment in physical and human capital. If the actual R&D gap is above this expected gap, then one can say that the country suffers from a true innovation shortfall.
  • Publication
    Migration, Trade, and Foreign Direct Investment in Mexico
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-05) Aroca Gonzalez, Patricio; Maloney, William F.
    Part of the rationale for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was that it would increase trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, creating jobs and reducing migration to the United States. Since poor data on illegal flows to the United States make direct measurement difficult, Aroca and Maloney instead evaluate the mechanism behind these predictions using data on migration within Mexico where the census data permit careful analysis. They offer the first specifications for migration within Mexico, incorporating measures of cost of living, amenities, and networks. Contrary to much of the literature, labor market variables enter very significantly and as predicted once the authors control for possible credit constraint effects. Greater exposure to FDI and trade deters out-migration with the effects working partly through the labor market. Finally, the authors generate some tentative inferences about the impact on increased FDI on Mexico-U.S. migration. On average, a doubling of FDI inflows leads to a 1.5-2 percent fall in migration.
  • Publication
    Income Risk, Income Mobility and Welfare
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-10) Krebs, Tom; Krishna, Pravin; Maloney, William F.
    This paper develops a framework for the quantitative analysis of individual income dynamics, mobility and welfare. Individual income is assumed to follow a stochastic process with two (unobserved) components, component representing measurement error or transitory income shocks and an Autoregressive (AR(1)) component representing persistent changes in income. The analysis uses a tractable consumption-saving model with labor income risk and incomplete markets to relate income dynamics to consumption and welfare, and derive analytical expressions for income mobility and welfare as a function of the various parameters of the underlying income process. The empirical application of the framework using data on individual incomes from Mexico provides striking results. Much of measured income mobility is driven by measurement error or transitory income shocks and therefore (almost) welfare-neutral. A smaller part of measured income mobility is due to either welfare-reducing income risk or welfare-enhancing catching-up of low-income individuals with high-income individuals, both of which have economically significant effects on social welfare. Decomposing mobility into its fundamental components is thus seen to be crucial from the standpoint of welfare evaluation.
  • Publication
    Missed Opportunities : Innovation and Resource-Based Growth in Latin America
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-12) Maloney, William F.
    Latin America missed opportunities for rapid resource-based growth that similarly endowed countries-Australia, Canada, Scandinavia-were able to take advantage of. Fundamental to this poor performance was deficient technological adoption driven by two factors. First, deficient national "learning" or "innovative" capacity, arising from low investment in human capital and scientific infrastructure, led to weak ability to innovate or even take advantage of technological advances abroad. Second, the period of inward-looking industrialization discouraged innovation and created a sector whose growth depended on artificial monopoly rents rather than the quasi-rents arising from technological adoption, and at the same time undermined resource-intensive sectors that had the potential for dynamic growth.
  • Publication
    Exchange Rate Appreciations, Labor Market Rigidities, and Informality
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-02) Fiess, Norbert M.; Fugazza, Marco; Maloney, William
    This paper works at the interface of the literature exploring the raison d'etre of the informal labor market and that explaining the real exchange rate appreciations occurring in many Latin American countries during periods of reform. The authors first build a small country-Australian style model where the informal sector is seen as an unregulated non-tradables sector, augmented by heterogeneity in entrepreneurial ability and capital adjustment costs. They then examine the behavior of the model with and without a formal sector rigidity. It shows that the co-movements of relative formal/informal incomes, formal/informal sector size, and the real exchange rate can offer insight into the level of distortion in the labor market and the source of exchange rate fluctuations. The paper then explores time series data from Brazil, Colombia and Mexico using multivariate co-integration techniques to establish what "regime" each country is in at various periods of time. Mexico appears to be relatively undistorted and the 1987-92 appreciation appears to be largely a function of a boom in the non-tradables sector rather than wage inertia. In spite of a secular expansion of the informal sector there is little evidence of dualism or of a rigidity driven appreciation of the Real, from 1993-1996. Post 1995 Colombia corresponds to a classic segmented labor market and an appreciation partly driven by labor market rigidities. Graphical analysis suggests that neither the Argentine appreciation (1988-1992) or the celebrated Chilean appreciation (1975-1982) were driven by inertial forces
  • Publication
    R&D and Development
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2003-04) Lederman, Daniel; Maloney, William F.
    Lederman and Maloney trace the evolution of research and development (R&D) expenditures along the development process using a new global panel data set. They show that R&D effort measured as a share of GDP rises with development at an increasing rate. The authors examine how four groups of countries from Latin America, Asia, advanced manufacturing exporters, and advanced natural resource-abundant countries fare relative to the predicted development trajectory. Latin America generally underperforms as do some countries in Asia and Europe, but their striking finding is that some-Finland, Israel, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan (China)-have radically deviated from the predicted trajectory and displayed impressive R&D takeoffs. The authors ask whether these countries overinvest in R&D but find that the high estimates of the social rates of return probably justify this effort. Moreover, the returns to R&D decline with per capita GDP. The authors attempt to explain why rich countries invest more in R&D than poor countries. They conclude that financial depth, protection of intellectual property rights, government capacity to mobilize resources, and the quality of research institutions are the main reasons why R&D efforts rise with the level of development.