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Institutional Change and Product Composition: Does the Initial Quality of Institutions Matter?

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  • Johannes Moenius

    ()

  • Daniel Berkowitz

    ()

Abstract

We argue that the quality of institutions that enforce contracts and protect property rights influences the costs of producing high-value added (complex) versus low-value added (simple) products. Since data is hardly available for domestic transactions, we generate predictions about the relationship between the quality of institutions and product composition with an international trade model and use a rich international trade data set for empirical tests. We find that improvements in institutional quality increase the share and volume of a country's complex product exports. However, the initial quality of institutions is important, since in countries with the least developed institutions, the share of complex products in exports is generally small and, institutional reform has almost no influence on simple product exports. These findings cast doubts on the efficacy of institutional reform in countries with underdeveloped institutions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 2004-662.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2004-662

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Keywords: Complex and simple products; volume effect of institutions; compositional effect of institutions;

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References

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  1. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1788, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," NBER Working Papers 5661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Vlachos, Jonas & Svaleryd, Helena, 2001. "Financial Markets, the Pattern of Specialization and Comparative Advantage. Evidence from OECD countries," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 449, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 03 Sep 2001.
  8. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Vertical Product Differentiation and North-South Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 810-22, December.
  9. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  10. Daniel Berkowitz & Johannes Moenius & Katharina Pistor, 2006. "Trade, Law, and Product Complexity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 363-373, May.
  11. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
  12. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," Scholarly Articles 4686801, Harvard University Department of Economics.

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