Does Services Liberalization Benefit Manufacturing Firms?
While there is considerable empirical evidence on the impact of liberalizing trade in goods, the effects of services liberalization have not been empirically established. This study examines the link between services sector reforms and the productivity of manufacturing industries relying on services inputs. The results, based on firm-level data from the Czech Republic for the period 1998-2003, show a positive relationship between services sector reform and the performance of domestic firms in downstream manufacturing sectors. When several aspects of services liberalization are considered, namely, the presence of foreign providers, privatization and the level of competition, we find that allowing foreign entry into services industries is the key channel through which services liberalization contributes to improved performance of downstream manufacturing sectors. As most barriers to foreign investment today are not in goods but in services sectors, our findings may strengthen the argument for reform in this area.
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