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                發布時間: 球王会中国)官方网站11月09日 編輯: 羅梓桐、陳欣

                Time to revisit economic rationale for industrial policy and subsidies



                The global economy has reached a new critical juncture, where techno-nationalist industrial policies are regaining popularity, while de-risking and the fragmentation of global value chains seem to be the unfolding reality. At this point, we need to revisit the economic rationale for industrial policy, from the triple perspective of theory, history and policy.


                The developed world, particularly the United States, used to favor laissez-faire over government intervention and aggressively promoted the free market doctrine, better known as the "Washington Consensus", among developing countries. Free-market advocates often dismiss the necessity for industrial policy, citing information barriers and potential rent-seeking as powerful arguments against it.

                發達國家,尤其是美ω國,曾偏好自由放任而非政府幹預,且積極地在發展中國家中推龙去鼎湖廣自由市場學說,也即人們通常說的“華盛頓共識”。自由市場的倡導者往往否定產業政策的必要ω 性,並認為信息壁壘和潛在的尋租是反對產業政策的有力論據。

                However, in the face of the intensified competition for technological supremacy and increasing geopolitical complexity, and in order to address a variety of issues — competition with China, resilience of supply chains and green transition — there has been a self-conscious resurgence of industrial policy in the developed world in recent years, most notably industrial policy toward the semiconductor industry (as exemplified by the Chips and Science Act in the US, and the European Chips Act in the European Union).


                Through techno-nationalist semiconductor industrial policies, primarily in the form of direct subsidies and tax credits, all major developed economies in the world have been pushing for the "reshoring" of advanced chip manufacturing capacity, as well as the localization or friend-shoring of their respective semiconductor supply chains.


                While this process is still unfolding, the following phenomenon is already emerging: the global race among countries has led to the fragmentation of the global semiconductor value chains and markets, which in turn may result in halting innovations, increasing overcapacity and underutilization, and global technological bifurcation. It could even jeopardize the highly efficient business and innovation model of the semiconductor industry that has been operating on the basis of delicate specialization along the semiconductor GVC.


                Poor industrial policy can stifle innovation, result in misallocation of capital, give rise to inefficiency, intensify market concentration and distortion, and waste valuable taxpayers' money. To economists, it has been of much interest to explore and identify, both theoretically and empirically (historically), the conditions (necessary and sufficient) under which the industrial policy can achieve its objectives, policy implementation can be made more efficient and welfare-enhancing and Pareto-improvement can be achieved.



                In recent years, there has been a revival of scholarly interest in industrial policy (for a recent sample, see Willy C. Shih's September article in Harvard Business Review), and a substantial body of research has emerged that offers more robust empirical evidence on the functioning and impacts of industrial policy (for a review, see National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 31538). This literature improves on the earlier empirical work, which was plagued by causal ambiguity and interpretational issues, and offers in general a much more positive take on industrial policy.

                近年來,學術界對產業政※策的興趣重新燃起(最新樣本參考Willy C. Shih在《哈佛商業◥評論》上發教妇初来教子婴孩表的文章),並且有大量研究湧現,為產業政策的運作和影響提供了更有力■的實證證據(相關評論,請參閱美國國家經濟研究局第31538號工作文件)。這些文獻改進了早期受到因果模糊和解釋問題的困擾的實證工作,並且大體上對產業政策提出了更積極的看法。


                More importantly, it provides a more nuanced and contextualized understanding of industrial policy, enabling economists to engage more productively in debates on the subject in a way that adds light rather than heat.



                In a nutshell, while the early literature on East Asia's experience was sharply divided, more recent studies tend to demonstrate more convincingly that certain types of industrial policy have been quite effective in driving structural change in countries such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and China.



                However, these success stories are highly contextualized and sensitive to local opportunities and constraints, particularly institutional differences, and are difficult to generalize out of context, tending to call for a broadly strategic and dynamic approach to the industrial policy practice.


                Moreover, recent studies, too, tend to suggest that the debate on industrial policy should probably focus on how (how should industrial policy be implemented), rather than whether (whether governments should adopt industrial policy).



                On the more practical policy side, various financial incentives, especially industrial subsidies, have been the major tools for implementing industrial policy. Amid the recent resurgence of techno-nationalistic industrial policy worldwide, the ramping up of subsidies by some of the world's largest economies has contributed to the significant increase in global trade tensions, raising concerns over the potential for subsidy wars — subsidy competition that leads to a race to the bottom.


                However, history, especially the period preceding the conclusion of the Tokyo Round Subsidies Code in 1979, has taught us that competitive subsidization leads to mutually wasteful expenditure and a lose-lose situation, thereby reducing the overall welfare of the world. In view of past experiences, it is essential that policy advisers and policy makers review the justifications for, and limits of, industrial subsidies, as well as the appropriate subsidization procedure.


                Also, it's high time major economies worked together to reach a consensus on the rules governing industrial subsidies within a multilateral framework (for example, the World Trade Organization system), so as to prevent efficiency-weakening competitive subsidization. It is widely recognized that within the WTO system, there are strict rules (the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement) governing export subsidies and import substitution subsidies, but the rules for more general industrial subsides (that is, subsidies "specific" to a company, industry or group of industries) are at best a gray area (generally permitted yet actionable if found to cause adverse effects on trade).

                同時,現在正是ξ主要經濟體應當共同努力,在多邊框架我从来我从来(例如世界貿易組織體系)內就工業補貼規則達成共識的時候,這樣才能防止削弱效率的競爭性補貼。人們普遍認东尼識到,在世貿組織體商人玛力吉系內ξ ,有嚴格的規則(《補貼和反補貼措施協定》)管理出口補貼和進口替代補貼,但更籠統肖红军的工業補貼(即“針對”某一公司、行業或產業集團的補貼)的規則充其量只是一個灰色地帶(通常是被允許的,但如果發暗水护腕現它對貿易造成不利影響,就應當采︼取行動)。

                In short, in the face of rising industrial policies across the globe, the world (and the WTO in particular) needs an updated toolbox. Fortunately, the major economies and international organizations (such as the WTO, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) seem to have taken note of the issues and have started to work in this direction.





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