Trade and Foreign Direct Investment in Emerging Markets

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 10:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Sheraton Grand Chicago, Michigan AB
Hosted By: Association for Comparative Economic Studies
  • Chair: Byung-Keon Kim, Seoul National University

Memories of Colonial Law: The Inheritance of Human Capital and the Location of Joint Ventures in Early-Reform China

Cheryl Long
,
Xiamen University and Colgate University
Peter Murrell
,
University of Maryland
Li Yang
,
Xiamen University and World Bank

Abstract

Using a unique data set of Chinese FDI contracts from the 1980s and 1990s, we explore mechanisms of historical persistence in the context of China's unique colonial experience. Using difference-in-differences estimations, we show that there was a tendency for foreign investors to form joint ventures in Chinese cities where their home country had a colonial presence in the 19th century. Using a difference-in-difference-in-differences approach we provide empirical evidence in support of the human-capital channel for explaining the historically persistent impact of colonial experience. Specifically, the most parsimonious explanation for our results is that legal human capital inherited from colonial times affected economic decisions in the reform era. Alternative explanations for long-term persistence are not supported. The study thus contributes to the research on history's long-lasting influence by highlighting the importance of one particular mechanism of persistence—historical memory of institutions, or simply legal human capital.

The Impact of Rising Labor Costs on Commodity Composition of Manufactured Exports: Evidence From China

Yanyan Xiong
,
Southeast University
Shengdan Zhang
,
Southeast University

Abstract

Chinese labor is no longer cheap. Recent studies show that China’s comparative advantage is shifting from labor-intensive exports to capital- and skill-intensive ones. The goal of this study is to estimate the impact of rising labor costs on commodity composition of manufactured exports using Manufacturing Firms Survey and Customs Survey matched data collected from 2002 to 2006. It is a large-scale panel data, covering most exporting manufacturing firms above designated size in China and providing rich information on firm’s production and exporting behaviors. Our OLS results show that increasing unit labor cost decreases the proportion of exports in labor- and resource-intensive manufactures, but it has little impact on the shares of capital- and skill-intensive products. After controlling for firm’s value-added, employment, real fixed assets, technological innovation, foreign direct investment and time effect, ten percent increase in the unit labor cost will reduce the proportions of labor- and resource-intensive exports by 2.0 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. However, after removing the unobserved firm characteristics which may be correlated with the unit labor cost, such as technical efficient, preference on exporting, historical support from local government and so forth, our fixed-effect estimates indicate that rising unit labor cost will increase the shares of exports in labor- and resource-intensive manufactures. Ten percent increase in the unit labor cost will increase the shares of labor- and resource-intensive exports by 0.6percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. The share of capital-intensive exports is hardly affected by the unit labor cost. These finding simply that more productive and efficient firms will export more despite of the increasing labor costs.

On the Exposure of the BRICS Countries to Global Shocks

Ansgar Belke
,
University of Duisburg-Essen
Christian Dreger
,
German Institute for Economic Research
Irina Dubova
,
University of Duisburg-Essen

Abstract

In the pre-crisis period, the catching-up of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have been a primary source for global GDP growth. While the countries quickly recovered from the financial crisis, their performance deteriorated since then. Output growth has fallen not only below the post-crisis peak of 2010/11, but even below the reference in the pre-crisis decade. External tailwinds that supported the catching up, like the acceleration of global trade, high commodity prices, and easy financing conditions worsened and will probably not improve over the years to come. As the advanced countries began to exit from extraordinary policy measures investment flows have been increasingly directed towards them. In a less-supportive environment, the BRICS countries face the challenge to improve the domestic conditions for economic growth.
We investigates the role of foreign factors for GDP growth in the BRICS by means of Bayesian VAR models. External variables are captured by commodity prices, world trade and financial volatility. Global shocks are transmitted to the BRICS through different channels, such as the fiscal policy stance, since lower commodity prices lead to lower public demand, monetary policy to combat capital outflows and the real exchange rate. The findings suggest that the BRICS are heavily affected by the global economy, albeit to a different degree. While commodity prices explain the downturn in Brazil, Russia and South Africa and the real depreciation of their currencies to a huge extent, a slower expansion of world trade is most important for China and India. The results underpin the need for structural reforms in the BRICS to ensure steady output growth. The Chinese transformation has increased the pressure on reforms, given the huge weight of China in the global economy.

Words Versus Actions: International Variation in the Propensity to Honor Pledges

Abigail S. Hornstein
,
Wesleyan University

Abstract

We examine whether companies from certain countries are more likely to honor investment pledges. Using data on contracted and utilized FDI in China, we find that firms honor an average of 59% of their pledges within two years. The propensity to honor pledges is lower for firms from countries with greater uncertainty avoidance, power distance, and egalitarianism; higher if the source country is more traditional; and is unaffected by popular attitudes towards China. Prior literature has found that these cultural characteristics are associated with higher levels of utilized FDI. We extend this to show that announcements of planned corporate activity may be more reliable for firms from countries with certain cultures.
Discussant(s)
Scott Rozelle
,
Stanford University
Deborah Swenson
,
University of California-Davis
Makram El-Shagi
,
Henan University
Gary Jefferson
,
Brandeis University
JEL Classifications
  • F1 - Trade