Oya Celasun, Gabriel Di Bella, Tim Mahedy, Chris Papageorgiou, 24 February 2014

The strong rebound of manufacturing production following the Great Recession of 2008–09 has generated renewed interest in the sector among analysts and policymakers. This column argues that a detailed look at the data suggests that claims of a US manufacturing renaissance are unwarranted. Yet, there remain factors that could support a greater contribution from the manufacturing sector to overall US growth in the years ahead.

Leonardo Iacovone, Aaditya Mattoo, Andrés Zahler, 15 September 2013

Service exports and innovation may be a source of dynamic growth for countries in the middle-income trap. This column presents new research showing some support for this optimistic view. That said, it’s clear that researchers need to improve their understanding of how firms in the services sector innovate and increase productivity, and whether better-tailored policies can promote trade and innovation in services.

Richard Dobbs, 08 February 2013

Surprisingly, manufacturing in some advanced economies is experiencing something of a renaissance. This column argues that the renaissance will unfold in new, unexpected ways. Manufacturing value added will continue to rise, but the impact on jobs will be muted – particularly for the unskilled. A range of innovations has opened a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build new platforms, but better skills and new strategies will be needed.

Klaus Desmet, Ejaz Ghani, Stephen O'Connell, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 13 June 2012

Will India’s rapid growth in the services sector lead to overcrowding of its cities? This column compares India’s experience to that of other countries.

Ejaz Ghani, 23 January 2012

Mention China and India to economists and their first thought will be rapid growth. Their second thought might be how differently the two economies are achieving this: China through manufacturing, India through services. This column asks whether that stereotype may be changing.

Thibault Fally, 10 January 2012

As the oft-cited iPhone example illustrates, production has become increasingly fragmented across countries. This column presents recent research, however, suggesting that this trend may be reversing for manufacturing plants in the US. It shows that intermediate goods account for a decreasing fraction of output value, while industries that are closer to the final consumer contribute to an increasing share of GDP.

Dani Rodrik, 09 November 2011

Poor countries have access to world markets and rich countries’ technologies. In principle, they should catch up. Yet the record belies this expectation. But this column argues labour productivity in manufacturing displays a clear tendency towards convergence, unconditional on the countries’ institutions or policies. The policies that matter for growth are thus those that bear on the reallocation of labour from nonconvergence to convergence activities.

Gianmarco Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri, Greg Wright, 18 November 2010

Manufacturing production and employment in the US has been in decline over recent decades, often with the finger pointed at immigration and globalisation. This column presents evidence from the US between 2000 and 2007 to show that immigrant and native workers are more likely to compete against offshoring than against each other. Moreover, offshoring's productivity gains can spur greater demand for native workers.

Michael Ferrantino, Danielle Trachtenberg, Alison Weingarden, 05 August 2010

Can increasing US exports create US jobs? Manufactures dominate US exports, but US manufacturing employment is declining. This column suggests that increased US exports are unlikely to lead to dramatic manufacturing employment gains, but employment in related services sectors may improve.

Adrian Wood, Jörg Mayer, 28 July 2009

Did China’s engagement with the global economy de-industrialise other developing countries? This column uses a factor-endowment approach to assess the magnitude of its impact. China’s opening to trade diminished labour-intensive manufacturing in other developing economies, primarily in East Asia, but its impact was not massive, and other developments often swamped its influence.

Lorenzo Casaburi, Valeria Gattai, G. Alfredo Minerva, 08 April 2008

Recent studies have shown that globalisation creates winning and losing firms within the same sector. This column summarises evidence from Italy describing important differences between domestic firms and offshorers. Firms going abroad are larger, but not all modes of offshoring are equal.

Arvind Panagariya, 15 January 2008

Historically, successful development has involved exporting labour-intensive manufactures. Despite opening up to the world economy in many respects, India’s policies continue to retard the expansion of labour-intensive sectors. Here is a discussion of how India could speed its transition to a modern economy.

Arik Levinson, 02 January 2008

Since the 1970s, US manufacturing output has risen by 70% but air pollution has fallen by 58%. Was this due to improved abatement technology or shifting dirty production abroad?

Francesco Daveri , Cecilia Jona-Lasinio, 29 November 2007

The public debate on offshoring has created more heat than light to date, but researchers are beginning to get a picture of its real economic impact. New evidence from Italy, based on firm-level data and a direct measure of offshoring, shows that offshoring of parts and components boosts domestic productivity while offshoring of services does not.

Peter Schott, 10 October 2007

Fear of China’s industry mirrors that of Japan’s in the 1980s when the Japanese were poised to take over the world’s manufacturing and it was the yen that was undervalued. Then as now, competition is painful for US and European firms, but firms don’t stand still. Some fail, others adapt, and the best of them not only survive, they thrive.

Barry Eichengreen, 30 July 2007

Germany’s traditional specialisation in manufacturing makes China and India direct competitors. What happened to Italy as China moved up the technology ladder will happen to Germany. The key to growth lies in getting out of China’s way and finding alternative forms of high-value-added employment.

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