Optimising Production: Industrial Policies in Networks

From a new VoxChina post:

“Many developing countries adopt industrial policies favoring upstream sectors. Liu (2018) shows these policies might enhance aggregate production efficiency. When sectors form a production network, market imperfections generate distortions that compound through input demand linkages, accumulating into upstream sectors and creating an incentive for well-meaning governments to subsidize these sectors. The study proposes the measure “distortion centrality,” which is a sufficient statistic that can guide policy interventions in arbitrary networks. Distortion centrality predicts sectors that were promoted in South Korea in the 1970s and modern-day China, suggesting that these policies might have generated positive aggregate effects.”

“I find that the heavy and chemical sectors promoted by South Korea in the 1970s were upstream (as visibly evident from Figure 2E) and had significantly higher distortion centrality than non-targeted sectors, suggesting that government interventions contributed positively to aggregate economic performance.

In modern-day China, non-state-owned firms in sectors with higher distortion centrality have significantly better access to loans, receive more favourable interest rates, and pay lower taxes. These sectors also tend to have more state-owned enterprises, to which the government directly extends credit and policy subsidies.

My quantitative analysis reveals that in China, differential sectoral interest rates, tax incentives, and funds given to state-owned enterprises all generate positive aggregate effects and, taken together, improve aggregate efficiency by 4.8%. Moreover, distortion centrality correlates negatively with sectoral size, suggesting that promoting large sectors would lead to aggregate losses.”

Posted by at 2:46 PM

Labels: Inclusive Growth


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