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Jel Classification:O11 

Newer need not be better: evaluating the Penn World Tables and the World Development Indicators using nighttime lights

Nighttime lights data are a measure of economic activity whose measurement error is plausibly independent of the errors of most conventional indicators. Therefore, we can use nighttime lights as an independent benchmark to assess existing measures of economic activity (Pinkovskiy and Sala-i-Martin 2016). We employ this insight to find out which vintages of the Penn World Tables (PWT) and of the World Development Indicators (WDI) better estimate true income per capita. We find that revisions of the PWT do not necessarily dominate their predecessors in terms of explaining nighttime lights (and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 778

Working Paper
Human Capital and Development Accounting: New Evidence from Wage Gains at Migration

We use new data on the pre- and post-migration wages of U.S. immigrants to measure the importance of human capital for development accounting. Wages increase at migration, but by less than half of the gap in GDP per worker. This finding implies that human capital accounts for a large share of cross-country income differences. Wage gains decline with education, consistent with imperfect substitution between skill types. We bound the human capital share in development accounting to between one-half and two-thirds; additional assumptions lead to an estimate of 60 percent. We also provide results ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 1

Working Paper
Macroeconomic Effects of Government Spending in China

Government spending plays an important role in determining economic performances in China. Its macroeconomic effects are analyzed in this paper. We show that government spending in China (i) Granger-causes output, consumption and investment booms as well as inflation and (ii) has a multiplier larger than 1. The large multiplier effects are found not only in aggregate time-series data but also in panel data at the provincial level. We also provide a theoretical model and Monte Carlo analysis to rationalize our empirical findings. Our theoretical and Monte Carlo analyses support the large ...
Working Papers , Paper 2013-013

Working Paper
Capital goods trade and economic development

We argue that international trade in capital goods has quantitatively important effects on economic development through two channels: (i) capital formation and (ii) aggregate TFP. We embed a multi country, multi sector Ricardian model of trade into a neoclassical growth model. Barriers to trade result in a misallocation of factors both within and across countries. Our model matches several trade and development facts within a unified framework. It is consistent with the world distribution of capital goods production, cross-country differences in investment rate and price of final goods, and ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-12

Working Paper
The great housing boom of China

China?s housing prices have been growing nearly twice as fast as national income over the past decade, despite a high vacancy rate and a high rate of return to capital. This paper interprets China?s housing boom as a rational bubble emerging naturally from its economic transition. The bubble arises because high capital returns driven by resource reallocation are not sustainable in the long run. Rational expectations of a strong future demand for alternative stores of value can thus induce currently productive agents to speculate in the housing market. Our model can quantitatively account for ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-22

Working Paper
Escaping the Middle-Income Trap: A Cross-Country Analysis on the Patterns of Industrial Upgrading

With rapid industrial upgrading along the global value chain of manufactured goods, China has transformed, within one generation, from an impoverished agrarian society to a middle-income nation as well as the largest manufacturing powerhouse in the world. This article identifies the pattern of China?s industrial upgrading and compares it with those of other successfully industrialized economies and the failed ones. We find that (i) China (since 1978) followed essentially the same path of industrial upgrading as that of Japan and the ?Asian Tigers.? These economies succeeded in catching up ...
Working Papers , Paper 2018-1

Working Paper
Natural Resources and Global Misallocation

Are production factors allocated efficiently across countries? To differentiate misallocation from factor intensity differences, we provide a new methodology to estimate output shares of natural resources based solely on current rent flows data. With this methodology, we construct a new dataset of estimates for the output shares of natural resources for a large panel of countries. In sharp contrast with Caselli and Feyrer (2007), we find a significant and persistent degree of misallocation of physical capital. We also find a remarkable movement toward efficiency during last 35 years, ...
Working Papers , Paper 2015-36

Journal Article
Health and Economic Development from Cross-Country Perspectives

In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of the role that health plays in economic develop­ment. We study cross-country differences in income and health and examine the underused value-of-­life and life-year gain measures. In particular, we compare two value-of-life measures, one based on life expectancy and lifetime utility, and the other based on adult mortality and life insurance data. We find that the perception and receptiveness of life insurance are likely better in countries at more advanced stages of economic development. The value-of-life measure based on life insurance ...
Review , Volume 102 , Issue 1 , Pages 79-98

Working Paper
Capital Goods Trade, Relative Prices, and Economic Development

International trade in capital goods has quantitatively important effects on economic development through capital formation and TFP. Capital goods trade enables poor countries to access more efficient technologies, leading to lower relative prices of capital goods and higher capital-output ratios. Moreover, poor countries can use their comparative advantage and allocate their resources more efficiently, and increase their TFP. We quantify these channels using a multisector, multicountry, Ricardian model of trade with capital accumulation. The model matches several trade and development facts ...
Working Papers , Paper 2017-6

Working Paper
Capital Accumulation and Dynamic Gains from Trade

We compute welfare gains from trade in a dynamic, multicountry model with capital accumulation. We examine transition paths for 93 countries following a permanent, uniform, unanticipated trade liberalization. Both the relative price of investment and the investment rate respond to changes in trade frictions. Relative to a static model, the dynamic welfare gains in a model with balanced trade are three times as large. The gains including transition are 60 percent of those computed by comparing only steady states. Trade imbalances have negligible effects on the cross-country distribution of ...
Working Papers , Paper 2017-5


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