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Does Trade Cause Growth?

Author

Listed:
  • David H. Romer
  • Jeffrey A. Frankel

Abstract

Examining the correlation between trade and income cannot identify the direction of causation between the two. Countries' geographic characteristics, however, have important effects on trade and are plausibly uncorrelated with other determinants of income. This paper, therefore, constructs measures of the geographic component of countries' trade and uses those measures to obtain instrumental variables estimates of the effect of trade on income. The results provide no evidence that ordinary least-squares estimates overstate the effects of trade. Further, they suggest that trade has a quantitatively large and robust, though only moderately statistically significant, positive effect on income.

Suggested Citation

  • David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:89:y:1999:i:3:p:379-399
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.89.3.379
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stanley Fischer, 1991. "Growth, Macroeconomics, and Development," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 329-379 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Easterly, William, 1993. "How much do distortions affect growth?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 187-212, November.
    3. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Equipment Investment and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 445-502.
    4. Colin I. Bradford Jr. & Naomi Chakwin, 1993. "Alternative Explanations of the Trade-Output Correlation in the East Asian Economies," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 87, OECD Publishing.
    5. Jeffrey A. Frankel & David Romer, 1996. "Trade and Growth: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 5476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Feder, Gershon, 1983. "On exports and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1-2), pages 59-73.
    7. Stanley Fischer, 1991. "Growth, Macroeconomics, and Development," NBER Working Papers 3702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Edwards, Sebastian, 1993. "Openness, Trade Liberalization, and Growth in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1358-1393, September.
    9. Fischer, S., 1991. "Growth, Macroeconomics, and Development," Working papers 580, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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