Manufacturing Matters… But It’s the Jobs That Count

Publication | November 2014

Findings in this paper suggest that the path to prosperity through industrialization may have become more difficult, and industrialization in employment has been more important for eventual prosperity than industrialization in output.

Practically every economy that enjoys a high income today experienced a manufacturing employment share in excess of 18%–20% sometime since the 1970s. This paper finds that the maximum expected employment share for a typical economy has fallen to around 13%–15%, and high manufacturing employment shares are becoming more difficult to sustain as incomes rise.


  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Data
  • Cross-Sectional Evidence on the Importance and Feasibility of Attaining High Manufacturing Employment Shares  
  • Are Industrialized Countries Rich?
  • Has It Become More Difficult to Achieve High Manufacturing Shares? 
  • Interpretation and Conclusions
  • Appendixes
  • References

Additional Details

  • Economics
  • Industry and trade
  • WPS147001-3
  • 2313-6537 (print)
  • 2313-6545 (electronic)

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