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Natural Openness and Good Government

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  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

This paper offers a possibly new interpretation of the connection between openness and good governance. Assuming that corruption and bad governance drive out international trade and investment more than domestic trade and investment, a "naturally more open economy" -- as determined by its size and geography -- would devote more resources to building good institutions and would display lower corruption in equilibrium. In the data, "naturally more open economies" do exhibit less corruption even after taking into account their levels of development. "Residual openness" -- which potentially includes trade policies -- is found not to be important once "natural openness" is accounted for. Moreover, "naturally more open economies" also tend to pay better civil servant salaries relative to their private sector alternatives -- indicative of the marginal benefit of good governance in a society's revealed preference. These patterns are consistent with the conceptual model.

Suggested Citation

  • Shang-Jin Wei, 2001. "Natural Openness and Good Government," CID Working Papers 61A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cid:wpfacu:61a
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
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    7. Daniel Kaufmann & Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "Does 'Grease Money' Speed Up the Wheels of Commerce?," IMF Working Papers 2000/064, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 1-11, February.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    natural openness; corruption;

    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

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