- Productivity and innovation at the industry level
What role for integration in global value chains?
Productivity growth has declined in most advanced economies in the past two decades and there are signs that the pace of global value chain (GVC) integration has slowed in the post-crisis period. This paper explores the role of GVCs - international trade in intermediate inputs - for multi-factor productivity growth using a range of cross-country industry-level data sources. We find that greater participation in GVCs is associated with faster domestic productivity growth at the industry level. We estimate that if GVCs had continued to grow at their pre-crisis trend, productivity growth would have been around 1 percentage point faster over the subsequent five years in both manufacturing and services. We also find that the productivity-enhancing direction of trade differs between sectors. For manufacturing sectors, greater use of intermediate inputs from foreign sources (backward participation) is linked with faster productivity growth, reflecting the beneficial effects of having access to better quality or cheaper inputs. For services sectors, it is more the sales of intermediates (forward participation) that is associated with productivity gains, in line with the traditional role of services in foreign trade as providing inputs to other activities. Looking by partner country, GVC participation with higher productivity countries is particularly productivity enhancing. We also find that GVC integration spurs greater domestic innovation activity.