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Industry Switching in Developing Countries

  • Carol Newman
  • John Rand
  • Finn Tarp

Firm turnover (i.e., firm entry and exit) is a well-recognized source of sector-level productivity growth. In contrast, the role and importance of firms that switch activities from one sector to another is not well understood. Firm switchers are likely to be unique, differing from both newly established entrants and exiting firms that are closing down operations. In this study, we develop an empirical model that examines switching behavior using data from Vietnamese manufacturing firms during the 2001–2008 period. The diagnostic shows that switching firms exhibit different characteristics and behavior than do entry and exit firms. Switchers tend to be labor intensive and to seek competitive opportunities in labor-intensive sectors in response to changes in market environments. Moreover, resource reallocation resulting from switching forms an important component of productivity growth. The topic of switching merits attention in the future design of firm surveys across developing countries and in associated analytical studies. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 357-388

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:27:y:2013:i:2:p:357-388
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  1. Eckel, Carsten & Neary, J. P., 2010. "Multi-product firms and flexible manufacturing in the global economy," Munich Reprints in Economics 20525, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Amit Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2008. "Multi-product Firms and Product Turnover in the Developing World: Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 14127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger Jr, John C & Kugler, Adriana D. & Kugler, Maurice, 2004. "The Effects of Structural Reforms on Productivity- and Profitability-Enhancing Reallocation: Evidence from Colombia," CEPR Discussion Papers 4569, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Aw, Bee Yan & Chen, Xiaomin & Roberts, Mark J., 2001. "Firm-level evidence on productivity differentials and turnover in Taiwanese manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 51-86, October.
  5. Disney, Richard F & Haskel, Jonathan & Heden, Ylva, 2000. "Restructuring And Productivity Growth In UK Manufacturing," CEPR Discussion Papers 2463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Ann E. Harrison & Brian J. Aitken, 1999. "Do Domestic Firms Benefit from Direct Foreign Investment? Evidence from Venezuela," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 605-618, June.
  7. Gary H. Jefferson & Thomas G. Rawski, 1994. "Enterprise Reform in Chinese Industry," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 47-70, Spring.
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