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Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence

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  • Romain Wacziarg
  • Karen Horn Welch

Abstract

A new data set of on openness indicators and trade liberalization dates allows the 1995 Sachs and Warner study on the relationship between trade openness and economic growth to be extended to the 1990s. New evidence on the time paths of economic growth, physical capital investment, and openness around episodes of trade policy liberalization is also presented. Analysis based on the new data set suggests that over the 1950--98 period, countries that liberalized their trade regimes experienced average annual growth rates that were about 1.5 percentage points higher than before liberalization. Postliberalization investment rates rose 1.5--2.0 percentage points, confirming past findings that liberalization fosters growth in part through its effect on physical capital accumulation. Liberalization raised the average trade to GDP ratio by roughly 5 percentage points, suggesting that trade policy liberalization did indeed raise the actual level of openness of liberalizers. However, these average effects mask large differences across countries. Copyright The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / the world bank . All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 22 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 187-231

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:22:y:2008:i:2:p:187-231

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  1. Alberto F. Ades & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Evidence on Growth, Increasing Returns and the Extent of the Market," NBER Working Papers 4714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
  8. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey & Christian Lundblad, 2001. "Does Financial Liberalization Spur Growth?," NBER Working Papers 8245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Wacziarg, Romain, 2000. "Measuring the Dynamic Gains from Trade," Research Papers 1654, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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