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Long-Run Development in the Open Economy

  • Petros Milionis

Are open economies characterized by superior economic performance in the long-run? This paper revisits this important question from the point of the view of unified growth theory. Contrary to other recent attempts to study this question, the paper considers two distinct channels through which openness might affect growth, namely trade in final goods and technology transfer. Constructing a two-country two-sector unified growth model that incorporates both these channels, it is argued that although trade and the resulting specialization in production generate a force of divergence between the two economies, this can be mitigated or even countered by the effect of technology transfer. In this context, the paper identifies differences in the level of education between the two countries as the crucial factor in determining which of the two forces is going to dominate. The predictions of the theory are then confronted with empirical evidence from cross-sectional and panel growth regressions that span the period from 1870 to 2008. The obtained estimates indicate a strong pattern of convergence among open economies with high initial levels of human capital which is robust to various specification tests.

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Paper provided by DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade in its series DEGIT Conference Papers with number c017_059.

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Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c017_059
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  1. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 150-154, May.
  2. Oded_Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth:Unified Growth Theory," Working Papers 2004-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
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  8. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Dominique Peeters, 2007. "Early Literacy Achievements, Population Density, and the Transition to Modern Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 183-226, 03.
  9. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  10. Cuñat, Alejandro & Maffezzoli, Marco, 2002. "Neoclassical Growth and Commodity Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 3322, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Oded Galor & Andrew Mountford, 2008. "Trading Population for Productivity: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1143-1179.
  12. Peter Howitt & David Mayer-Foulkes, 2002. "R&D, Implementation and Stagnation: A Schumpeterian Theory of Convergence Clubs," NBER Working Papers 9104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_003, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  14. Diego Comin & William Easterly & Erick Gong, 2006. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?," NBER Working Papers 12657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
  16. Cameron, Rondo, 2002. "A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 4, number 9780195127058.
  17. Harley, C.K., 1988. "Ocean Freight Rates And Productivity, 1740-1913: The Primacy Of Mechanical Invention Reaffirmed," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 8802, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
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