The Export Base Model with a Supply-Side Stimulus to the Export Sector

Ha, Soo Jung and Swales, J. Kim (2010) The Export Base Model with a Supply-Side Stimulus to the Export Sector. Discussion paper. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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    In the export-base model, the level of a region’s economic activity is underpinned by the performance of its export sector (Daly, 1940; Dixon and Thirlwall, 1975; Kaldor, 1970; North, 1955). This theory is now almost universally represented as a primitive version of the familiar Input-Output (IO) or Keynesian demand-driven approach, where regional output is linked to regional exports through a rather mechanistic multiplier process (Romanoff, 1974). Further, in a standard IO inter-regional framework, the expansion of output in one region always generates positive impacts on other regions. That is to say, there is always a positive spread, and no negative backwash, effect. However, these models typically embody no supply-side constraints. What is more, the stimulus to the export sector is often thought to come through supply-side improvements (North, 1955; McCombie, 1992). Whilst accepting that the development of a healthy export base is generally central to promoting the growth of the regional economy, the relationship is likely to be much more complex than is usually thought. Also whilst an increase in regional exports typically increases economic activity in the target region, the effect on other regions is less straightforward (Myrdal, 1957). In this paper we begin by using a single-region IO analysis of the operation of a stylised export base model. The impact of a conventional increase in export demand is compared to a situation in which increased competitiveness underpins the improved export performance. This analysis is then extended through the use of an interregional (Scotland–Rest of the UK) Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model. In simulation, different exogenous demand and supply side disturbances are calibrated so as to generate the same long-run expansion in Scottish manufacturing exports. The subsequent specific evolutions of regional GDP and employment in both Scotland and the rest of the UK (RUK) are then tracked.