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Contract Enforcement, Comparative Advantage and Long-Run Growth

  • Ottaviano, Gianmarco

The effects of the quality of institutions on economic development and comparative advantage have been so far investigated separately. This paper proposes a theoretical framework in which trade patterns and growth rates are jointly determined by international differences in contract enforcement that affect firms' organizational decisions. In a two-country dynamic Ricardian model with endogenous innovation and hold-up problems, the value chain consists of two activities, innovation and production. Entry in the market happens through R&D and entrants face two decisions. The 'location decision' determines where to place R&D laboratories and production plants. Through the 'ownership decision' firms choose whether to perform innovation and production within the same vertically integrated structure or not. In this framework, the quality of contract enforcement drives the ownership decision, which affects R&D returns, research intensity and growth. Balance of payments adjustments cause movements in relative wages, which affect the location decision and, therefore, the pattern of sectoral specialization and international trade.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6419.

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Date of creation: Aug 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6419
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  1. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Acemoglu, Daron & Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2007. "Contracts and Technology Adoption," Scholarly Articles 3199063, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Patrick Francois & Joanne Roberts, 2003. "Contracting Productivity Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 59-85, January.
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  11. Costinot, Arnaud, 2009. "On the origins of comparative advantage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 255-264, April.
  12. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 105, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  13. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2002. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. Taylor, M. Scott, 1993. "'Quality ladders' and Ricardian trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3-4), pages 225-243, May.
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