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Trade Liberalisation and Economic Growth


  • Richard Kneller
  • C. W. Morgan
  • Sunti Kanchanahatakij


There has been a long-held belief that there is an association between economic growth and increased levels of international trade. However, more recent work has questioned this hypothesis and the re-opening of the debate has identified two key areas of contention. One is the extent to which the effects of openness are conditional on factors omitted from the core regression relationship and hence how the hypothesis is tested. The other is the meaning and measurement of openness and liberalisation. This paper addresses both these areas by exploring the nature of heterogeneity in growth performance among liberalising countries using a difference-in-difference approach. The results show that, while in aggregate there appears to be a positive but small impact of trade liberalisation on growth, this masks a huge range of responses. Empirical analysis of this heterogeneity shows that a one-size-fits-all policy is not necessarily the most effective, and suggests a case-by-case approach is more appropriate. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Kneller & C. W. Morgan & Sunti Kanchanahatakij, 2008. "Trade Liberalisation and Economic Growth," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(6), pages 701-719, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:31:y:2008:i:6:p:701-719

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nauro F. Campos & Paul De Grauwe & Yuemei Ji, 2017. "Structural Reforms, Growth and Inequality: An Overview of Theory, Measurement and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 6812, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Yang, Benhua, 2011. "Political democratization, economic liberalization, and growth volatility," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 245-259, June.
    3. Stojkov, Aleksandar & Zalduendo, Juan, 2011. "Europe as a convergence engine -- heterogeneity and investment opportunities in emerging Europe," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5837, The World Bank.
    4. Campos, Nauro F & De Grauwe, Paul & Ji, Yuemei, 2017. "Structural Reforms, Growth and Inequality: An Overview of Theory, Measurement and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 11159, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Hakimi, Abdelaziz & Hamdi, Helmi, 2016. "Trade liberalization, FDI inflows, environmental quality and economic growth: A comparative analysis between Tunisia and Morocco," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 1445-1456.
    6. Helmut Wagner, 2012. "Is harmonization of legal rules an appropriate target? Lessons from the global financial crisis," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 541-564, June.
    7. Neil Foster, 2008. "The Impact of Trade Liberalisation on Economic Growth: Evidence from a Quantile Regression Analysis," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 543-567, November.
    8. L. Alan Winters & Antonio Martuscelli, 2014. "Trade Liberalization and Poverty: What Have We Learned in a Decade?," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 493-512, October.
    9. Ulaşan, Bülent, 2012. "Openness to international trade and economic growth: A cross-country empirical investigation," Economics Discussion Papers 2012-25, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    10. Shahbaz, Muhammad, 2012. "Does trade openness affect long run growth? Cointegration, causality and forecast error variance decomposition tests for Pakistan," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2325-2339.
    11. repec:pid:journl:v:55:y:2016:i:4:p:499-519 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Feinberg Robert M., 2011. "Antidumping as a Development Issue," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-17, September.
    13. Gani, Azmat & Al Mawali, Nasser Rashid, 2013. "Oman's trade and opportunities of integration with the Asian economies," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 766-774.
    14. Ghani, Gairuzazmi M., 2012. "Does trade liberalization effect energy consumption?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 285-290.
    15. Gani, Azmat & Clemes, Michael D., 2013. "Modeling the effect of the domestic business environment on services trade," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 297-304.
    16. Manwa, Farai & Wijeweera, Albert, 2016. "Trade liberalisation and economic growth link: The case of Southern African Custom Union countries," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 12-21.

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