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  • Author: Juthatip Jongwanich, Archanun Kohpaiboon
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the role of industrial policy on firms’ productivity, using 3 years of panel data on Thai manufacturing as a case study. A range of industrial policy tools is defined – tariff measures, subsidies, and investment incentives through the Board of Investment (BOI) – which are the main tools used in Thailand. The effect on firm productivity of partial trade liberalisation undertaken through free trade agreements (FTAs) signed between Thailand and its trading partners is also examined. The key finding is that trade openness and research and development (R&D) are more crucial in fostering firms’ productivity than industrial policies. This is especially true for the narrow definition of industrial policy focusing on trade policy protection, measured by the effective rate of protection. In addition, the FTA-led trade liberalisation effect fails to add substantial competitive pressure and make firms improve productivity. Our results show that sectors benefiting from subsidies show noticeably lower productivity than others. Our study found weak support for investment promotion policy through the BOI, even when the domestic competitive environment is considered in our analysis.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, Manufacturing, Productivity
  • Political Geography: Asia, Thailand
  • Author: Samuel Nursamsu, Dionisius Narjoko, Titik Anas
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Can firms reallocate their imported inputs to domestic sources when faced with import tariffs? To answer this question, we analyse the input allocation behaviour of Indonesian medium and large-sized manufacturing firms in responding to the movement of import tariffs from 2000 to 2013 by utilising plant-level input data of Indonesian manufacturing. We find that an increase in tariffs only creates a weak substitution effect. Our findings indicate that firms reallocate their inputs towards domestic sources, although this is accompanied by a decrease in the firms’ value added. This implies that domestic inputs are worse substitutes for imported inputs and that firms’ capacity to switch over to domestic products is limited, suggesting that firms will immediately switch back to importing when the tariff is removed. We find no evidence that firms make any adjustment towards more domestic-oriented input composition over time; and heterogeneity exists within the result, as industries with a strong basis in the domestic market are more capable of adjusting.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Manufacturing
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Toshiyuki Matsuura, Hisamitsu Saito
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study examines the impact of inward foreign direct investment on the wages and employment of skilled and unskilled workers in Indonesian manufacturing plants. Entry of multinational enterprises affects local labour markets through spillovers as well as labour and product market competition. Our results show that spillovers increase the labour demand of local plants for unskilled workers, but increased wages due to severe labour market competition reduce the demand for skilled workers. We also find that product market competition causes resource reallocation from low- to high-productivity plants. Thus, attracting inward foreign direct investment effectively enhances aggregate productivity growth, but may retard the transition to skill-intensive production in Indonesian manufacturing.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Direct Investment, Manufacturing, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Chin Hee Hahn, Yong-Seok Choi
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper aims to investigate whether empirical evidence supports the learning-to-export hypothesis, which has received little attention in the previous literature. By taking full advantage of plant–product level data from the Republic of Korea during 1990–1998, we find some evidence for the learning-to-export effect, especially for innovated product varieties with delayed exporters: their productivity, together with research and development and investment activity, was superior to their matched sample. On the other hand, this learning-to-export effect was not significantly pronounced for the industries protected by import tariffs. Thus, our empirical findings suggest that it would be desirable to implement some policy tools to promote the learning-to-export effect, while tariff protection cannot be justifiable for that purpose.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Manufacturing, Productivity
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Kazunobu Hayakawa, Tadashi Ito, Shujiro Urata
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The impacts of imports on the domestic labour market have been hotly debated recently. The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the effects of not only imports from China but also those under regional trade agreements (RTAs) on employment in Japan. As in previous studies in the literature, we found that the rise in import penetration from China significantly decreases employment in Japan. However, import penetration under RTA regimes is found to have insignificant effects on employment. The finding suggests that the increase in imports under RTA regimes might not be harmful to the domestic labour market. In addition, we did not find significant effects of import penetration via input–output linkages. This insignificant result may be because imports by Japanese manufacturing firms are mostly conducted in the form of intra-firm trade, enabling them to avoid negative impacts on employment.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Labor Issues, Employment, Manufacturing
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Đoàn Thi Thanh Ha, Hông Quỳnh Nguyen
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: It is well-documented that agglomeration contributes to productivity growth. However, concentrations of workers could also lead to increasing regional income disparities. Therefore, understanding the evolution of agglomeration is relevant for the formulation of industrial policy and inclusive growth. This study documents the extent, pattern, and determinants of agglomeration in Vietnamese manufacturing during 2002–2016, a period when substantial economic reform took place. Our major findings are three-fold. First, agglomeration, as measured by the Ellison–Glaeser index, has declined since the mid-2000s. Second, there exists significant sectoral heterogeneity in the level and trend of agglomeration. Third, we do not find a significant impact of trade and foreign direct investment on agglomeration per se. However, foreign direct investment in port districts does contribute to disagglomeration.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Reform, Manufacturing, Productivity
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam
  • Author: Đoàn Thi Thanh Ha
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the impacts of advanced technology on a possible change in workers’ skills, wages, and employment due to such technological advancement. Three proxies of advanced technologies are used in the study: (i) information and communications technology, (ii) intensity of robot use, and (iii) value of e-commerce. Our study compares the effects of technological advancements on labour market outcomes with import penetration, delineating into raw materials, capital goods, and final products. Our results show that in Thailand, the impact of advanced technology in pushing workers out of the job market is limited. Instead, it tends to affect reallocation of workers between skilled and unskilled positions. The results vary amongst proxies of technology and sectors. It seems that workers in comparatively capital-intensive industries, including automotive, plastics and chemicals, and electronics and machinery, are the most affected by advanced technology. Dampened wage/income is found only in some proxies of technology and sectors. Our results show less concern of negative impacts induced by imports, particularly imports of capital goods and raw materials, on employment status and income than technological advancement.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Employment, Manufacturing, Job Creation, Labor Rights
  • Political Geography: Asia, Thailand
  • Author: Bin Ni, Ayako Obashi
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Unlike studies that analyse the impact of robotics technology on employment at the industry or firm level, this study investigates cross-division employment adjustment within a firm in an industry with large penetration and diffusion of robotics technology. By examining the changes in the composition of employment, we measured job creation and destruction at the division level and explored whether robotics technology, as a leading example of automation, not only displaces workers but also introduces new jobs in favour of labour. We made use of unique, division-level employment data for Japan’s manufacturing firms, together with industry-level data on the installation of industrial robots. We found that industry-level adoption of robots positively affects the rates of firm-level job creation and job destruction. Because the magnitude of the impact is larger for job destruction, robot adoption has an overall negative impact on firms’ net employment growth. Our finding suggests that the labour displacement effect of robotics technology and the emergence of new jobs due to technological change coexist even at the firm level.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence, Job Creation
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia