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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
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jeffrey A. Frankel & David Romer, 1996. "Trade and Growth: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 5476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    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.
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    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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