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Criss-crossing globalization : uphill flows of skill-intensive goods and foreign direct investment

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  • Mattoo, Aaditya
  • Subramanian, Arvind

Abstract

This paper documents an unusual and possibly significant phenomenon: the export of skills, embodied in goods, services or capital from poorer to richer countries. The authors first present a set of stylized facts. Then, using a measure that combines the sophistication of a country’s exports with the average income level of destination countries, they show that the performance of a number of developing countries - notably China, Mexico and South Africa - matches that of much more advanced countries - such as Japan, Spain and the United States. The authors create a new combined dataset on foreign direct investment (covering greenfield investment as well as mergers and acquisitions). The analysis shows that flows of foreign direct investment to developed countries from developing countries - like Brazil, India, Malaysia and South Africa - as a share of their GDP, are as large as flows from developed countries - like Japan, Korea and the United States. The authors suggest that it is not just the composition of exports but their destination that matters. In both cross-sectional and panel regressions, with a range of controls, a measure of uphill flows of sophisticated goods is significantly associated with better growth performance. These results suggest the need for a deeper analysis of whether the benefits of development might derive not from deifying comparative advantage but from defying it.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5047.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5047

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Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; Debt Markets; Emerging Markets; Investment and Investment Climate; Trade Policy;

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  1. Prasad, Eswar & Rajan, Raghuram G. & Subramanian, Arvind, 2007. "Foreign Capital and Economic Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 3186, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Ricardo J Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2006. "An equilibrum model of "global imbalances" and low interest rates," BIS Working Papers 222, Bank for International Settlements.
  3. Borensztein, E. & De Gregorio, J. & Lee, J-W., 1998. "How does foreign direct investment affect economic growth?1," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 115-135, June.
  4. Kalpana Kochhar & Utsav Kumar & Raghuram Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2006. "India's Patterns of Development: What Happened, What Follows," NBER Working Papers 12023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  6. Jonathan E. Haskel & Sonia C. Pereira & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2002. "Does Inward Foreign Direct Investment Boost the Productivity of Domestic Firms?," NBER Working Papers 8724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Beata Smarzynska Javorcik, 2004. "Does Foreign Direct Investment Increase the Productivity of Domestic Firms? In Search of Spillovers Through Backward Linkages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 605-627, June.
  8. Michael Kremer & Nazmul Chaudhury & F. Halsey Rogers & Karthik Muralidharan & Jeffrey Hammer, 2005. "Teacher Absence in India: A Snapshot," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 658-667, 04/05.
  9. David T. Coe & Elhanan Helpman & Alexander Hoffmaister, 1995. "North-South R&D Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 5048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Amin, Mohammad & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2006. "Do institutions matter more for services ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4032, The World Bank.
  11. Paul A. Samuelson, 2004. "Where Ricardo and Mill Rebut and Confirm Arguments of Mainstream Economists Supporting Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 135-146, Summer.
  12. Berthelon, Matias & Freund, Caroline, 2008. "On the conservation of distance in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 310-320, July.
  13. De Loecker, Jan, 2007. "Do exports generate higher productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 69-98, September.
  14. Feenstra, Robert & Hiau Looi Kee, 2004. "Export variety and country productivity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3412, The World Bank.
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