Employees of shoe manufacturing park at work in Addis Ababa SOPA Images/Getty Images

无需工业化的增长?

发自剑桥——尽管全球各地的商品价格依然偏低,但世界上许多以此为生的最贫穷经济体却都表现良好。撒哈拉以南非洲的经济增长自2015年以来急剧减缓,但这只反映了当地三个最大型经济体(尼日利亚,安哥拉和南非)的具体问题。埃塞俄比亚,科特迪瓦,坦桑尼亚,塞内加尔,布基纳法索和卢旺达预计今年将实现6%以上的增长。而在亚洲,印度,缅甸,孟加拉,老挝,柬埔寨和越南也是如此。

这是个好消息,但有时也令人费解。那些无需依赖高价自然资源而持续实现快速增长的发展中经济体——跟它们十多年来的发展模式相反——通常都是通过出口导向的工业化。但是这些国家并没有实现多少工业化。撒哈拉以南低收入国家的制造业份额增长大体上停滞不前,甚至在某些情况下有所下降。尽管“印度制造”已经成了总理纳伦德拉·莫迪(Narendra Modi)的口头禅之一,但这个国家却没有展现出什么快速工业化的迹象。

制造业之所以能成为低收入国家经济发展的强大助推力,原因有三:首先从国外吸收技术并产生高效率的工作相对容易。第二,制造业的工作并不需要太多的技能:农民可以在工厂里变成生产工人,也无需多少额外培训投资。第三,制造业需求并不受国内低收入水平的限制:通过出口,生产基本上可以无限增长。

但情况一直在变化。现在有足够的证据表明近几十年来制造业的技能密集程度日益提高。随着全球化的进程,这使得新来者非常难以打入世界制造业市场并复制以往那些亚洲制造业大国的经验。除少数出口国之外,发展中经济体已经出现了提前的去工业化状况。似乎这股助推力已经从落后的国家身边流走了。

那么我们究竟应该如何看待某些世界上最贫穷国家新近的繁荣状况?这些国家是否又发现了一套新的增长模式?

在最近的研究中,美国国际食品政策研究所的刁新申,塔夫茨大学的玛格丽特·麦克米兰(Margaret McMillan)和笔者共同研究了这批新的高增长国家的增长模式。我们的重点是这些国家所经历的结构变化模式,并记录了一些存在矛盾性的发现。

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首先,尽管缺乏工业化,但埃塞俄比亚,马拉维,塞内加尔和坦桑尼亚等低收入国家近年的经验表明增长促进型的结构性改革作用显著。劳动力从低生产率的农业活动转移到了其他高生产力活动,但后者主要是服务业而非制造业。

其次,这些国家的快速结构性变化大多都是以非农部门劳动生产率的负增长为代价的。换句话说,尽管吸收新工作的服务业在初期产生了较高的生产力,但其边际效应也随着行业扩张而递减。这一模式与经典的东亚增长经验(如韩国和中国)形成了鲜明对比,后者的结构性变化和非农业劳动生产率的增长都对总体增长产生了巨大贡献。

两者之间区别似乎是因为近来这段高增长时期的城市化和现代部门的扩张是由国内需求驱动,而非以出口为导向的工业化。尤其是非洲模式显然由国外侨汇或者农业生产率提升所产生的正面总需求冲击的支撑起来的。

以埃塞俄比亚为例,灌溉,运输和电力方面的公共投资显着提高了农业生产力和收入,并因此催生了促进增长的结构性变化,因为需求会外溢到非农业部门。而非农部门劳动生产率的下降则是作为上述情况的副产品而出现,因为资本回报率下降,生产效率较低的企业则收缩经营。

说这些可不是要淡化农业这个典型传统部门实现快速生产率增长的重要意义。我们的研究表明农业在非洲所扮演的关键作用不仅在其本身,还在于其作为增长结构变化的推动力。对非传统农产品的多样化尝试以及新生产技术的采用都可以将农业转变为一项准现代活动。

但这个过程对整个国家经济的推动程度有限。部分原因是农产品需求较低的收入弹性,同时劳动力从农业部门流出也是发展过程中不可避免的结果。这些被释放的劳动力必须被现代活动所吸收。如果这些现代部门的生产力不增长,经济增长就最终将陷入停滞。如果现代部门自身没有经历过生产力的快速增长,那么目前这种结构变化部分可以做出的贡献就必然会出现自限性。

如果人力资本和治理水平能不断提升,低收入非洲国家就可以在未来维持温和的生产率增长率,与富裕国家收入水平的持续趋同似乎也可以实现。但有证据表明,最近这种由快速结构性变化所带来的增长率是一个例外,也可能无法长久持续。

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