Chart of the WeekWhen it Comes to Services vs. Manufacturing, Words Matter

2021-02-16T10:00:21-05:00February 16, 2021|

By Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov

Efforts to revive national manufacturing sectors get a lot of airtime. After all, the sector propelled many East and South East Asian economies—the so-called “East Asia Miracle”—and was a gateway to the middle class for millions of workers. However, for all the obsession with manufacturing, economists for their part seem to be more preoccupied with services.

To confirm this, we combed through thousands of IMF reports on countries’ economies from 1978 to 2019. Using 113 distinct terms related to growth theory and policy—ranging from “infrastructure” to “liberalization”—we computed the relative weights of each term across countries and years. As shown in our chart of the week, “services” is used more than any other term.

In fact, across all countries and years, “services” comprises about 20 percent of the occurrences of all terms, with tourism in particular getting more attention. “Agriculture” and “agricultural” are the second most frequently used terms, followed by “industry” and “industrial.” By contrast, “manufacturing” comes up only 2 to 5 percent of the time, depending on the income group (5 percent for advanced economies). “Manufacturing” appears even less often than terms such as “institutions,” “privatization,” and […]

Demographics and Destiny

2020-03-02T17:22:06-05:00March 2, 2020|

By Gita Bhatt

When I visit my home country, India, I am always struck by how young it looks. From the big cities to the tiny villages, one can see the hopes and aspirations of twenty-somethings, many in search of work. In Japan, demographic trends have been moving in the opposite direction. Homes sit vacant, and villages are vanishing, as people have fewer children. In response, the Japanese are embracing technology to fill the gaps through innovations like robot chefs and automated medical services. […]

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