Deindustrialization? A Global Perspective

9 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2017

See all articles by Jesus Felipe

Jesus Felipe

Asian Development Bank

Aashish Mehta

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Date Written: September 2016


Recent studies show that, within countries, manufacturing labor productivity growth has outstripped aggregate labor productivity growth, putting significant downwards pressure on national manufacturing employment shares. We compile the first (nearly) global database of national manufacturing employment and output levels over time, and use it to document two facts seemingly at odds with these results: (1) the manufacturing sector’s share of global employment did not fall between 1970 and 2010; and (2) manufacturing and aggregate labor productivity at the global level grew at roughly the same rate. We show that this occurred because rapid within-country manufacturing productivity growth was counterbalanced by an equally rapid shift of manufacturing jobs towards lower productivity economies.

Keywords: deindustrialization; industrialization; globalization; manufacturing jobs; labor productivity; structural transformation

JEL Classification: O10, O14, L60

Suggested Citation

Felipe, Jesus and Mehta, Aashish Sunil, Deindustrialization? A Global Perspective (September 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Jesus Felipe

Asian Development Bank ( email )

6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550
Metro Manila

Aashish Sunil Mehta (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States


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