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De-Industrialization And The Blance Of Payments In Advanced Economies

  • Robert Rowthorn
  • Ken Coutts

This paper defines de-industrialization as a secular decline in the share of manufacturing in national employment. De-industrialization, in this sense, has been a universal feature of economic growth in advanced economies in recent decades. The paper considers briefly what explains this development and quantifies some of the factors responsible. It then examines the experience of the United Kingdom and the United States, which are two countries that have combined rapid de-industrialization with a strong overall economic performance. The paper considers both the domestic situation of manufacturing industry in these countries and its foreign trade performance, and examines in detail the United Kingdom’s balance of payments, and documenting how improvements in the non-manufacturing sphere have helped offset a worsening performance in manufacturing trade. It concludes that manufacturing still matters to economic performance even at the highest levels of economic development, and that “premature de-industrialization” could lead to serious mismanagement of the integration of developing countries into the global economy.

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Paper provided by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in its series UNCTAD Discussion Papers with number 170.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:unc:dispap:170
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  1. Singh, Ajit, 1977. "UK Industry and the World Economy: A Case of De-industrialisation?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 113-36, June.
  2. Coutts, Ken & Godley, Wynne, 1990. "Prosperity and Foreign Trade in the 1990s: Britain's Strategic Problem," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 82-92, Autumn.
  3. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155, March.
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