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Openness, Productivity and Growth: What Do We Really Know?

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  • Sebastian Edwards

Abstract

For over a century social analysts have debated the connection between trade policy and economic performance. This controversy continues today, even as the world is experiencing an unprecedented period of trade liberalization, and in spite of numerous empirical studies that claim to have found a positive effect of openness on growth. Two issues have been at the core of these controversies: first, until recently theoretical models had been unable to link trade policy to faster equilibrium growth. And second, the empirical literature on the subject has been affected by serious data problems. In this paper I use a new comparative data set for 93 countries to analyze the robustness of the relationship between openness and TFP growth. I use nine alternative indexes of trade policy to investigate whether the evidence supports the view that, with other things given, TFP growth is faster in more open economies. The regressions reported here are robust to the use of openness indicator, estimation technique, time period and functional form, and suggest that more open countries have indeed experienced faster productivity growth. Although the use of instrumental variables goes a long way towards dealing with endogeneity, issues related to causality are still somewhat open, and will require time series analyses to be adequately addressed.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5978.

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Date of creation: Mar 1997
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Publication status: published as Economic Journal, Vol. 108, no. 447 (March 1998): 383-398.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5978

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  1. Stanley Fischer, 1993. "The Role of Macroeconomic Factors in Growth," NBER Working Papers 4565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
  4. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  5. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  6. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Harry P. Bowen, 1997. "World Trade Flows, 1970-1992, with Production and Tariff Data," NBER Working Papers 5910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, . "The Productivity of Nations," Working Papers 96012, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  8. Harberger, Arnold C., 1996. "Reflections on economic growth in Asia and the Pacific," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 365-392.
  9. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1994. "Sources of economic growth," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-46, June.
  10. Robert J. Barro, 1995. "Inflation and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1995. "Introduction to "Reform, Recovery, and Growth: Latin America and the Middle East"," NBER Chapters, in: Reform, Recovery, and Growth: Latin America and the Middle East, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1995. "Reform, Recovery, and Growth: Latin America and the Middle East," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dorn95-1, October.
  13. Sebastian Edwards, 1991. "Trade Orientation, Distortions and Growth in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 3716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Edwards, Sebastian, 1993. "Openness, Trade Liberalization, and Growth in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1358-93, September.
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  1. Produttività e export
    by Alberto Bagnai in Goofynomics on 2014-08-17 17:54:00
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