Publication: Services in Developing Economies: The Deindustrialization Debate in Perspective
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This study contributes to the debate on the premature deindustrialization of developing countries by analysing the contribution of services to aggregate productivity and output growth within a Kaldorian framework. The article revisits Kaldor’s Growth Laws and empirically tests them for a number of economic activities, including four service branches across 29 developing economies in Asia, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa over three decades (1975–2005). Panel data estimations are complemented by a shiftshare decomposition of labour productivity growth. The findings support the Kaldorian argument for both manufacturing and business services’ contribution to aggregate productivity growth. Conversely, other services slow down aggregate productivity and output growth. The authors suggest qualifying and repositioning the debate on premature deindustrialization within a broader reflection on the opportunities for development linked to structural change. The analysis claims that these opportunities might include not only manufacturing sectors, but also business services.