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Solomon Owusu

Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford

I am currently a Postdoctoral Researcher of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Development at the University of Oxford and affiliated with St. Anthony's College of the University. I am a former World Bank Africa fellow, Washington, DC and Associate Researcher at the German Development Institute (Bonn). I also serve as a Coordinator of the Complexity Economics Working Group of the Young Scholars' Initiative, Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET, New York, USA). Before joining Oxford University, I held a Research Economist position at the German Development Institute (DIE) in Germany and worked for reputable institutions such as the World Bank (Washington, DC), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO, Vienna), European Commission (EU-JRC, Belgium), Asian Development Bank, UNU-MERIT (The Netherlands), and Ghana Statistical Service.

I received a PhD in Economics from Maastricht University/UNU-MERIT in the Netherlands, an M.A. degree (Economics) from Leuphana University Lüneburg (Germany), and Erasmus Mundus Advanced MSc. degree (Economics) from Staffordshire University (UK), University of Cantabria (Spain), and University of Brasilia (Brazil). I had my undergraduate training in Economics and Management from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

My research interest focuses broadly on development economics in areas such as (i) economics and measurement of structural transformation, jobs and inclusive growth (ii) global value chains and trade (iii) research in services and industrialization, and (iv) issues at the intersection of technology adoption and productivity in developing countries with particular focus on countries in Africa.
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How important is GVC Participation to Export Upgrading

Abstract Exporting higher‐quality and complex products are deemed pathways to economic growth and development. However, producing such products are knowledge‐intensive and require quality intermediate inputs and advanced technologies. Integration into global trade networks is increasingly argued to be amongst the pathways to obtain such inputs and technologies, although not all countries may benefit equally from such integration. This paper builds on these arguments and investigates how participation in the global value chain (GVC) affects the quality of exported products. Using a highly disaggregated product‐level export data from 122 countries, we find that participation in (backward and forward) GVC impacts positively on the quality of exported products and brings the quality level closer to the quality frontier. While this result persists in the sub‐sample comprising developed countries, developing countries only benefit from backward GVC participation. Overall, the results indicate that GVC participation matters to export upgrading but points to a potential heterogeneity on the channel of impact across countries at different levels of development.

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Export Variety and Imported Intermediate Inputs: Industry-Level Evidence from Africa

Imported intermediate inputs offer access to lower-priced, higher quality, and a wider variety of inputs that can increase the possibility of producing and selling more diversified products in foreign markets. In this paper, we examine this relationship using a novel manufacturing industry-level data across 26 African countries over the 1995-2016 period. We find strong evidence of a positive relationship between imported intermediate inputs and the variety of exported products. Further analyses in the study indicate that imported intermediate inputs positively affect the variety of exported products because they offer lower-priced, and higher-quality/technology embodied inputs. However, the positive effect of imported intermediate inputs on the variety of exported products depend on industry's absorptive capacity, especially when the inputs are sourced from advanced countries. We discuss the implications of our findings.

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