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Developing the Service Sector as Engine of Growth for Asia: An Overview

  • Noland, Marcus

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

  • Park, Donghyun

    (Asian Development Bank)

  • Estrada, Gemma B.

    (Asian Development Bank)

The maturing of the manufacturing sector in many Asian countries, combined with the relative backwardness of its service sector, has made service sector development a top priority for developing Asia. Our central objective is to broadly survey and analyze the current landscape of the region’s service sector so as to assess its potential to serve as an engine for inclusive economic growth. Our analysis indicates that services are already an important source of output, growth, and jobs in the region. However, its productivity greatly lags that of the advanced economies, which implies ample room for further growth. The impact of service sector on poverty reduction is less clear but we do find some limited evidence of a poverty reduction effect. One key challenge for all Asian countries is to improve the quality of service sector data. Overall, while service sector development is a long and challenging process, creating more competitive services markets by removing a wide range of internal and external policy distortions is vital for improving service sector productivity. As important as such policy reforms are, complementary investments in physical infrastructure and human capital will also be necessary to achieve a strong service sector.

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Paper provided by Asian Development Bank in its series ADB Economics Working Paper Series with number 320.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 30 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:adbewp:0320
Note: http://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/pub/2012/economics-wp320.pdf
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  1. Joseph F. Francois & B. Hoekman, 2009. "Services Trade and Policy," wiiw Working Papers 60, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  2. Jed Kolko, 2010. "Urbanization, Agglomeration, and Coagglomeration of Service Industries," NBER Chapters, in: Agglomeration Economics, pages 151-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. " Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-87, June.
  4. Ghani, Ejaz & Kharas, Homi, 2010. "The Service Revolution," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 14, pages 1-5, May.
  5. Leamer, Edward E, 1987. "Paths of Development in the Three-Factor, n-Good General Equilibrium Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 961-99, October.
  6. Marcus Noland & Howard Pack, 2003. "Industrial Policy in an Era of Globalization: Lessons from Asia," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 358, May.
  7. Dirk Pilat & Anita Wölfl, 2005. "Measuring the Interaction Between Manufacturing and Services," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2005/5, OECD Publishing.
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