Criss-Crossing Globalization: Uphill Flows of Skill-Intensive Goods and Foreign Direct Investment

38 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Aaditya Mattoo

Aaditya Mattoo

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Arvind Subramanian

International Monetary Fund (IMF); Center for Global Development

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 1, 2009

Abstract

This paper documents an unusual and possibly significant phenomenon: the export of skills, embodied in goods, services or capital from poorer to richer countries. The authors first present a set of stylized facts. Then, using a measure that combines the sophistication of a country’s exports with the average income level of destination countries, they show that the performance of a number of developing countries - notably China, Mexico and South Africa - matches that of much more advanced countries - such as Japan, Spain and the United States. The authors create a new combined dataset on foreign direct investment (covering greenfield investment as well as mergers and acquisitions). The analysis shows that flows of foreign direct investment to developed countries from developing countries - like Brazil, India, Malaysia and South Africa - as a share of their GDP, are as large as flows from developed countries - like Japan, Korea and the United States. The authors suggest that it is not just the composition of exports but their destination that matters. In both cross-sectional and panel regressions, with a range of controls, a measure of uphill flows of sophisticated goods is significantly associated with better growth performance. These results suggest the need for a deeper analysis of whether the benefits of development might derive not from deifying comparative advantage but from defying it.

Keywords: Economic Theory & Research, Debt Markets, Emerging Markets, Investment and Investment Climate, Trade Policy

Suggested Citation

Mattoo, Aaditya and Subramanian, Arvind, Criss-Crossing Globalization: Uphill Flows of Skill-Intensive Goods and Foreign Direct Investment (September 1, 2009). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series, Vol. , pp. -, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1476689

Aaditya Mattoo (Contact Author)

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Arvind Subramanian

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

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Center for Global Development

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