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The Quantitative Importance of Openness in Development

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  • Wenbiao Cai
  • B. Ravikumar
  • Raymond G. Riezman

Abstract

This paper deals with a classic development question: how can the process of economic development – transition from stagnation in a traditional technology to industrialization and prosperity with a modern technology – be accelerated? Lewis (1954) and Rostow (1956) argue that the pace of industrialization is limited by the rate of capital formation which in turn is limited by the savings rate of workers close to subsistence. We argue that access to capital goods in the world market can be quantitatively important in speeding up the transition. We develop a parsimonious open-economy model where traditional and modern technologies coexist (a dual economy in the sense of Lewis (1954)). We show that a decline in the world price of capital goods in an open economy increases the rate of capital formation and speeds up the pace of industrialization relative to a closed economy that lacks access to cheaper capital goods. In the long run, the investment rate in the open economy is twice as high as in the closed economy and the per capita income is 23 percent higher.

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File URL: http://economics.uwinnipeg.ca/RePEc/winwop/2013-02.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Winnipeg, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2013-02.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:win:winwop:2013-02

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  1. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 1998. "Malthus to Solow," NBER Working Papers 6858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Uy, Timothy & Yi, Kei-Mu & Zhang, Jing, 2013. "Structural change in an open economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(6), pages 667-682.
  3. Westphal, Larry E, 1990. "Industrial Policy in an Export-Propelled Economy: Lessons from South Korea's Experience," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 41-59, Summer.
  4. Betts, Caroline & Giri, Rahul & Verma, Rubina, 2013. "Trade, Reform, And Structural Transformation in South Korea," MPRA Paper 49540, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Restuccia, Diego & Urrutia, Carlos, 2001. "Relative prices and investment rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 93-121, February.
  6. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306, December.
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