Kaoru Hosono, Daisuke Miyakawa, Miho Takizawa, 27 August 2015

‘Learning by exporting’ refers to productivity gains experienced by firms after they commence exporting. Such gains are argued to be due to access to new knowledge and resources. This column explores some of the preconditions for learning-by-exporting effects, using data on the overseas activities and affiliations of Japanese firms. Firms that enter markets in which they don’t have affiliates or subsidiaries are found to enjoy the most learning-by-exporting productivity gains. These findings have implications for the timing of new market entry.

Swarnali Ahmed, Maximiliano Appendino, Michele Ruta, 27 August 2015

The export-less depreciation of the yen has opened a debate on the power of exchange rates to boost exports. This column presents new evidence on how the exchange rate elasticity of exports has changed over time and across countries, and how global value chains have affected it. The upshot is that greater integration in global value chains makes exports substantially less responsive to exchange rate depreciations.

Ernesto Zedillo, 26 August 2015

There are reasons to be both optimistic and troubled about Africa’s development prospects. This column highlights both perspectives – African economies have come a long way and, although nobody dismisses the role of favourable external conditions, much credit is due to domestic conditions and decisions. The most pressing transformation that is needed remains the strengthening, and in some cases building, of the institutions required for lasting development.

Tatiana Didier, Ross Levine, Sergio Schmukler, 25 August 2015

It is still not clear which firms issue equity and bonds, what happens to their assets, sales, and employment, and how the performance of issuers compares to that of non-issuers. This column addresses these three questions. First, only a small number of large firms issue securities in a typical country. Second, issuers grow faster than non-issuers in terms of assets, sales, and employment. Third, smaller issuing firms grow faster than larger ones, but larger non-issuing firms grow faster than smaller ones.

William R. Cline, 24 August 2015

Economists continue to debate whether – and to what extent – Greek debts should be relieved. This column takes through the details of Greek debt, what relief options are open to Greece, and what the likely consequences of relief might be for all parties. Yet again, there are no easy choices – but that doesn’t mean economists and policymakers shouldn’t try.

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