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Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence

In: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15

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  • Francisco Rodriguez
  • Dani Rodrik

Abstract

Do countries with lower policy-induced barriers to international trade grow faster, once other relevant country characteristics are controlled for? There exists a large empirical literature providing an affirmative answer to this question. We argue that methodological problems with the empirical strategies employed in this literature leave the results open to diverse interpretations. In many cases, the indicators of "openness" used by researchers are poor measures of trade barriers or are highly correlated with other sources of bad economic performance. In other cases, the methods used to ascertain the link between trade policy and growth have serious shortcomings. Papers that we review include Dollar (1992), Ben-David (1993), Sachs and Warner (1995), and Edwards (1998). We find little evidence that open trade policies--in the sense of lower tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade--are significantly associated with economic growth.
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Suggested Citation

  • Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 2001. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 261-338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11058
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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