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Barriers to Growth-Enhancing Structural Transformation : The Role of Subnational Differences in Intersectoral Productivity Gaps

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  • Paul,Saumik
  • Raju,Dhushyanth

Abstract

The movement of workers from the farm sector to a more productive nonfarm sector has failed to generate significant gains in labor productivity in recent decades in many developing countries. This paper offers a new perspective on the barriers to growth-enhancing structural transformation, combining structural modeling with enterprise census data from Ghana. The paper argues that subnational differences in the intersectoral productivity gap between the nonfarm informal and formal sectors constrain the productivity gain from structural transformation. In Ghana, intersectoral productivity gaps among the richer regions are on average three times larger than among the poorer regions. The disparity in regional intersectoral productivity gaps is modeled as reflecting the disparity in the regional misallocation of labor between the informal and formal sectors. Misallocation is identified as the output wedge between the informal and formal sectors. Simulations suggest that a more productive nonfarm informal sector reduces the disparity in regional intersectoral productivity gaps and, in turn, increases national productivity and the contribution of structural transformation to national productivity. For example, a 90-percent reduction in the disparity in regional intersectoral productivity gaps raises Ghana’s national aggregate productivity by 11.9 percent and the contribution of structural transformation to productivity by 19.7 percent.

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  • Paul,Saumik & Raju,Dhushyanth, 2021. "Barriers to Growth-Enhancing Structural Transformation : The Role of Subnational Differences in Intersectoral Productivity Gaps," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9683, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:9683
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor Markets; Food Security; Employment and Unemployment; International Trade and Trade Rules;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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