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Varieties, Jobs and EU Enlargement

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  • Tito Boeri
  • Joaquim Oliveira Martins

Abstract

Two key factors that have so far allowed fast growing economies of central and eastern Europe to cope with their external constraint have been I) the presence of relatively low unit labour costs and ii)the initial undervaluation of the exchange rate. The accession to the EU will inevitably reduce both sources of competitiveness of eastern European exports: real wages are likely to catch-up western European levels and current EU members are pushing these countries to enforce labour market and social regulations that will increase labour costs; moreover, stability of the exchange rate will be a precondition for the negotiations over the accession to proceed. Small open economies can grow faster than their neighbours without running into a balance of payment crises if they succeed in increasing the number of differentiated goods produced domestically. The multiplication of the number of varieties in these countries after trade liberalisation is an unambiguous sign that consumers coming from the empty shelves of the pre-transition era have a strong taste for varieties, and hence that new varieties can create their own demand. But the increase in the number of varieties will involve a furthering of the worker reallocation process as production is still largely concentrated in homogenous good and scale-intensive industries and enterprise density is significantly lower than in western Europe. This paper will start by reviewing the changing profile and orientation of trade in transitional economies of central and eastern Europe. Next, developments in enterprise density and the performance of greenfield vs. state and privatised firms will be reviewed in an attempt to assess barriers to the entry and growth of small business. Finally, numerical simulations of a model will be developed which enables to assess the likely impact on employment, unemployment and gross worker flows of reductions in start-up costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Tito Boeri & Joaquim Oliveira Martins, 2000. "Varieties, Jobs and EU Enlargement," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 301, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2000-301
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
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    3. Djankov, Simeon & Hoekman, Bernard, 1996. "Intra-Industry Trade, Foreign Direct Investment and the Reorientation of East European Exports," CEPR Discussion Papers 1377, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Robert C. Feenstra & Tzu-Han Yang & Gary G. Hamilton, "undated". "Business Groups And Trade In East Asia: Part 2, Product Variety," Department of Economics 96-14, California Davis - Department of Economics.
    5. A. Richter & M.E. Schaffer, 1996. "The Performance of De Novo Private Firms in Russian Manufacturing," CERT Discussion Papers 9610, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
    6. Tito Boeri, 1994. ""Transitional" unemployment," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 2(1), pages 1-25, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Funke & Ralf Ruhwedel, 2005. "Export variety and economic growth in East European transition economies," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 13(1), pages 25-50, January.
    2. Frensch, Richard, 2004. "Public governance as the source of quality and variety gains from transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 388-408, September.
    3. Funke, Michael & Ruhwedel, Ralf, 2003. "Trade, product variety and welfare : a quantitative assessment for the transition economies in Central and Eastern Europe," BOFIT Discussion Papers 17/2003, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    4. Michael Bolle & José Caétano & Jaakko Kiander & Vladimir Lavrac & Renzo Orsi & Tiiu Paas & Katarzyna Zukrowska, 2002. "The Eastward Enlargement of the Eurozone - State of the Art Report," Eastward Enlargement of the Euro-zone Working Papers wp02, Free University Berlin, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, revised 01 Jan 2002.
    5. Rutkowski, Jan, 2004. "Firms, jobs, and employment in Moldova," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3253, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    transition economies; product variety; trade specialisation;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • P21 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Planning, Coordination, and Reform

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