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Growth in a Dual Economy


  • Magnus Blomstrom
  • Edward N. Wolff


Growth and structural transformation of the manufacturing sector in developing countries are generally considered to be the result of the expansion of the "modem" (large-scale) sector relative to the "traditional" (small-scale) sector. Examining the sources of labor productivity growth in Mexican manufacturing, however, does not provide support for such a conclusion. Although we find that labor productivity levels vary almost in direct relation to establishment size, labor productivity growth shows no systematic variation by size class. In fact, small establishments have had the same rate of labor productivity growth as larger ones, partly because of the "excise-effect" (i.e. the exiting of low-productivity, small plants). Moreover, most of the variation in labor productivity across plant class sizes is found to be due to differences in capital intensity. The variation in TFP levels across size classes tends to be small. Thus, our results remove some justification of the policy measures that favor large firms in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Magnus Blomstrom & Edward N. Wolff, 1993. "Growth in a Dual Economy," NBER Working Papers 4433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4433
    Note: EFG ITI

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Blomstrom, Magnus & Wolff, Edward N., 1997. "Growth in a dual economy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(10), pages 1627-1637, October.
    3. Blomstrom, Magnus & Wolff, E.N., 1989. "Multinational Corporations And Productivity Convergence In Mexico," Working Papers 89-28, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    4. Kokko, Ari, 1994. "Technology, market characteristics, and spillovers," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 279-293, April.
    5. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    6. Ranis, Gustav, 1988. "Analytics of development: Dualism," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 73-92 Elsevier.
    7. David Dollar & Edward N. Wolff, 1993. "Competitiveness, Convergence, and International Specialization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262041359, January.
    8. Patricio Meller, 1976. "Efficiency Frontiers for Industrial Establishments of Different Sizes," NBER Chapters,in: Explorations in Economic Research, Volume 3, number 3, pages 77-105 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Blomstrom, Magnus & Wolff, Edward N., 1997. "Growth in a dual economy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(10), pages 1627-1637, October.
    2. Michiel Van Dijk & Adam Szirmai, 2005. "Catch Up at the Micro-Level: Evidence from an Industry Case Study Using Manufacturing Census Data," DEGIT Conference Papers c010_038, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    3. Szirmai, Adam & Van Dijk, Michiel, 2007. "The Micro-Dynamics of Catch Up in Indonesian Paper Manufacturing: An International Comparison of Plant-Level Performance," MERIT Working Papers 010, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    4. Dijk van, M., 2003. "Industry Evolution in Developing Countries: the Indonesian Pulp and Paper Industry," Working Papers 03.02, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies.
    5. van Dijk, Michiel & Szirmai, Adam, 2006. "Industrial Policy and Technology Diffusion: Evidence from Paper Making Machinery in Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2137-2152, December.
    6. Stefania P. S. Rossi & Guido Pellegrini & Ornella Tarola, 2006. "Macroeconometric modelling for evaluationg the policy impact on growth in dualistic countries: the case of Southern Italian Regions," Vienna Economics Papers 0607, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity


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