Trade Liberalization and Institutional Change
AbstractOpening up to global trade and investment is often thought to trigger institutional improvement by raising the expected benefits of institutional reform and reducing incumbents' incentives and ability to preserve the status quo. However, recent experience is not entirely consistent with this conventional wisdom. We suggest an explanation based on variation across countries in firms’ reliance on ambient institutions. Large, well established, or state controlled firms depend less on an economy’s institutions than do small, incipient, or purely private sector firms. Multinational firms likewise can use their global organizations to sidestep weak local institutions. Firm heterogeneity of this sort can thus contribute to markedly different institutional responses to liberalization. Our framework also suggests that institutional development might occur in stages. In an economy whose basic institutions are sound, individuals rationally invest in entrepreneurial capability and firms rationally invest less in institution substitutes. Economies with firms that rely more on ambient institutions or with more potential entrants who would rely on those institutions are more likely to experience further institutional improvement following accession to the global economy. Economies with fewer firms or potential entrants dependent on sound institutions, in acceding to the global economy, may exhibit scant institutional improvement, and perhaps even institutional deterioration. Political rent-seeking is not necessary for the latter outcome, but expands the range of conditions under which it ensues.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 2102.
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- Minyuan Zhao & Kathy Fogel & Randall Morck & Bernard Yeung, 2005. "Trade Liberalization and Institutional Change," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2098, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.