Speaker: Natasha Xingyuan Che, Georgetown University
Abstract: This paper aims (1) to test the endowment-based structural change theory proposed by recent studies such as Acemoglu & Guerrieri (2008) and Ju, Lin & Wang (2009); and (2) to explore the linkage between structural coherence and economic growth. By structural coherence, I refer to the degree that a country’s industrial structure optimally reflects its factor endowment fundamentals.
Using data from 27 industries across 15 countries, I examine whether higher capital endowment is associated with larger sizes in capital intensive industries for overall fixed capital as well as for three detailed categories of capital – information and communication technology capital (ICT), non-residential structure, and machinery. For the overall capital, I found that the real and nominal output share and employment share of capital intensive industries were significantly bigger with higher initial capital endowment and with faster capital accumulation. This result also applies to ICT capital and partially applies to machinery and structure capital. In addition, the labor income share of capital intensive industries is found to be negatively associated with capital endowment and capital accumulation in most types of capital, which provides one way to understand the relationship between structural change and the decline of labor income share in many sample countries during recent decades. Finally, I test whether a higher level of coherence between capital endowment and industrial structure is related to better economic growth performance. The result shows a significantly positive relationship between a country’s aggregate output growth and the degree of structural coherence in all types of capital. Quantitatively, the structural coherence with respect to the overall capital explains about 35% of the growth differential among sample countries.
The results of the paper are mostly robust to alternative measure of capital intensity, to controls for other industry characteristics such as human capital and degree of value-added, and to controls for other determinants of structural change on both demand side and supply side.