Research Topics

Publications on Philippines

There are 5 publications for Philippines.
  • Can the Philippines attain 6.5–8 Percent Growth During 2023–28?

    Working Paper No. 1039 | February 2024
    An Assessment Based on the Estimation of the Balance-of-Payments–Constrained Growth Rate
    We expand the standard balance-of-payments–constrained (BOPC) growth rate model in three directions. First, we take into account the separate contributions of exports in goods, exports in services, overseas remittances, and foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. Second, we use state-space estimation techniques to obtain time-varying parameters of the relevant coefficients. Third, we test for the endogeneity of output in the import equation. We apply this framework to assess the feasibility of the target set by the new Philippine administration of President Marcos (elected in 2022) to attain an annual GDP growth rate of 6.5–8 percent during 2024–28. We obtain an estimate of the growth rate consistent with equilibrium in the basic balance of the Philippines of about 6.5 percent in 2021 (and declining during the years prior to it). This BOPC growth rate is below the 6.5–8 percent target. We also find that exchange-rate depreciations will not lead to an improvement in the BOPC growth rate. The Philippines must lift the constraints that impede a higher growth of exports. In particular, it must shift its export structure toward more sophisticated products with a higher income elasticity of demand.
    Associated Program:
    Jesus Felipe Manuel L. Albis

  • Economic Transformation and Growth in the Philippines

    Working Paper No. 1030 | October 2023
    An Analysis of Political Settlements, Rents, and Deals
    The main gateway for the Philippines to develop and become an upper-middle-income economy—and eventually, a high-income economy—is to expedite the shift of workers out of agriculture and to produce and export more complex products with a higher income elasticity of demand. The actual growth rate is constrained by the balance-of-payments equilibrium growth rate, about 6 percent—the maximum the country can attain without incurring balance-of-payments problems. We use the Pritchett-Sen-Werker political-economy framework to analyze the roles of different types of firms and the deals environment from successive Philippine administrations until the current one. Due to their economic size and political power, only the nation’s conglomerates will be able to lead the transformation of the economy. However, the country’s large groups do not have incentives nor do they see the need to shift to the production and export of tradables. Without this transformation, the country will be able to register positive growth but will not become an internationally competitive economy, and will not be able to achieve, and especially maintain, the growth rate targeted by the current administration: 6.5–8 percent per annum during 2023–28.
    Associated Program:
    Jesus Felipe Edgar Desher Empeño Brendan Miranda

  • Tracking the Middle-income Trap

    Working Paper No. 715 | April 2012
    What Is It, Who Is in It, and Why?

    This paper provides a working definition of what the middle-income trap is. We start by defining four income groups of GDP per capita in 1990 PPP dollars: low-income below $2,000; lower-middle-income between $2,000 and $7,250; upper-middle-income between $7,250 and $11,750; and high-income above $11,750. We then classify 124 countries for which we have consistent data for 1950–2010. In 2010, there were 40 low-income countries in the world, 38 lower-middle-income, 14 upper-middle-income, and 32 high-income countries. Then we calculate the threshold number of years for a country to be in the middle-income trap: a country that becomes lower-middle-income (i.e., that reaches $2,000 per capita income) has to attain an average growth rate of per capita income of at least 4.7 percent per annum to avoid falling into the lower-middle-income trap (i.e., to reach $7,250, the upper-middle-income threshold); and a country that becomes upper-middle-income (i.e., that reaches $7,250 per capita income) has to attain an average growth rate of per capita income of at least 3.5 percent per annum to avoid falling into the upper-middle-income trap (i.e., to reach $11,750, the high-income level threshold). Avoiding the middle-income trap is, therefore, a question of how to grow fast enough so as to cross the lower-middle-income segment in at most 28 years, and the upper-middle-income segment in at most 14 years. Finally, the paper proposes and analyzes one possible reason why some countries get stuck in the middle-income trap: the role played by the changing structure of the economy (from low-productivity activities into high-productivity activities), the types of products exported (not all products have the same consequences for growth and development), and the diversification of the economy. We compare the exports of countries in the middle-income trap with those of countries that graduated from it, across eight dimensions that capture different aspects of a country’s capabilities to undergo structural transformation, and test whether they are different. Results indicate that, in general, they are different. We also compare Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines according to the number of products that each exports with revealed comparative advantage. We find that while Korea was able to gain comparative advantage in a significant number of sophisticated products and was well connected, Malaysia and the Philippines were able to gain comparative advantage in electronics only.

    Associated Program:
    Jesus Felipe Arnelyn Abdon Utsav Kumar

  • Women, Schooling, and Marriage in Rural Philippines

    Working Paper No. 701 | December 2011

    Using data from the Bicol region of the Philippines, we examine why women are more educated than men in a rural, agricultural economy in which women are significantly less likely than men to participate in the labor market. We hypothesize that educational homogamy in the marriage market and cross-productivity effects in the household allow Filipino women to reap substantial benefits from schooling regardless of whether they enter the labor market. Our estimates reveal that the return to schooling for women is approximately 20 percent in both labor and marriage markets. In comparison, men experience a 12 percent return to schooling in the labor market. By using birth order, sibship size, percent of male siblings, and parental education as instruments, we correct for a significant downward bias that is caused by the endogeneity of schooling attainment.

    Associated Program:
    Sanjaya DeSilva Mohammed Mehrab Bin Bakhtiar

  • Access to Markets and Farm Efficiency

    Working Paper No. 687 | September 2011
    A Study of Rice Farms in the Bicol Region, Philippines

    This paper presents an empirical investigation of the relationship between the spread, spatially and temporally, of market institutions and improvements in the productivity and efficiency of farmers. The data used in this study were collected over two decades in a sample of rice farms in the Bicol Region of the Philippines. Our estimates reveal a significant inverse relationship between distance from the market and farm productivity and efficiency in 1983. While there are substantial improvements in yields, unit costs, and efficiency in the two decades that followed, the gains are larger in the more remote and sparsely populated villages. This finding suggests that the relationship between remoteness and farm outcomes has weakened over time. We also find that the development of markets in the peripheral villages and the improved connectivity between the peripheral villages and market centers are facilitated by population growth, infrastructural investments (specifically, irrigation and roads), and the availability of agricultural extension programs.

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