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The better you are the stronger it makes you: Evidence on the asymmetric impact of liberalization

  • Iacovone, Leonardo

This paper shows how trade liberalization can have an asymmetric effect on heterogeneous firms. It develops a neo-Schumpeterian growth model predicting that the impact of liberalization on economic performance is positive “on average”, but more advanced firms benefit more. These predictions are tested using Mexican plant-level data confirming that, under NAFTA, the liberalization spurred productivity growth on average. However, the empirical analysis goes beyond estimating the average effect of liberalization and shows that more advanced firms benefited disproportionately more from the liberalization. Focusing on the mechanisms explaining these results, the paper shows that the results are not just driven by an increase in input usage and investments, but rather by innovative and managerial efforts as they are significantly stronger in those sectors where the scope for innovative activities is larger.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 99 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 474-485

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:99:y:2012:i:2:p:474-485
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