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Do Low-Income Countries have a High-Wage Option?

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  • Dani Rodrik

Abstract

Poor countries must specialize in standardized. labor-intensive commodities. Middle income countries may have a richer menu of options available to them if their labor force is reasonably well-educated and skilled. This paper is motivated by the possibility that there may exist multiple specialization patterns for countries of the second type. What creates the multiplicity of equilibria is a coordination problem inherent in high-tech activities. It is assumed that high-tech production requires a range of differentiated intermediate inputs that are nontradable. For the high-tech sector to become viable. a sufficiently large number of intermediaries has to be produced domestically. But if none is currently being produced. there is little incentive for any single firm to do so on its own. The economy may get stuck in a low-wage. low-tech equilibrium--even though the high-tech sector is viable. As long as the high-tech sector is more capital-intensive than the low-tech sector, a high-wage policy would get the high-tech sector going and be welfare-enhancing.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4451.

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Date of creation: Sep 1993
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Publication status: published as "Coordination Failures and Government Policy: A Model with Applications to East Asia and Eastern Europe," Journal of International Economics, 1996.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4451

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  1. Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Scholarly Articles 3606235, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Antonio Ciccone & Kiminori Matsuyama, 1995. "Start-up costs and pecuniary externalities as barriers to economic development," Economics Working Papers 142, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1991. "Increasing Returns, Industrialization, and Indeterminacy of Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 617-50, May.
  4. Faini, Riccardo, 1984. "Increasing Returns, Non-Traded Inputs and Regional Development," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(374), pages 308-23, June.
  5. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
  6. Hamilton, C.B. & Winters, L.A., 1992. "Opening Up International Trade in Eastern Europe," Papers 511, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  7. Azariadis, Costas & Drazen, Allan, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-26, May.
  8. Csaba,Laszlo, 1991. "Eastern Europe in the World Economy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521334266, April.
  9. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-67, May.
  10. Markusen, James R, 1989. "Trade in Producer Services and in Other Specialized Intermediate Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 85-95, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Kimakova, Alena & Rajabiun, Reza, 1999. "An Applied General Equilibrium Analysis of EU Integration for Hungary and Slovakia," Transition Economics Series 9, Institute for Advanced Studies.

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