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Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence

  • Wacziarg, Romain

    (Stanford U)

  • Welch, Karen Horn

This paper revisits the empirical evidence on the relationship between economic integration and economic growth. First, we present an updated dataset of openness indicators and trade liberalization dates for a wide cross-section of countries in the 1990s. Second, we extend the Sachs andWarner (1995) study of the relationship between trade openness and economic growth to the 1990s, discussing recent criticisms of their measurement and estimation framework. Our results suggest that the cross-sectional findings of Sachs and Warner are sensitive to the period under consideration. In particular, an updated version of their dichotomous trade policy openness indicator does not enter significantly in growth regressions for the 1990s. Third, and most importantly, we present new evidence on the time paths of economic growth, physical capital investment and openness around episodes of trade policy liberalization. In sharp contrast to our cross-sectional results, we find that liberalization has, on average, robust positive effects on growth, openness and investment rates within countries. We illustrate these large sample findings with detailed case studies in a subsample of representative countries.

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Paper provided by Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in its series Research Papers with number 1826.

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Date of creation: Nov 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1826
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  1. Aaron Tornell, 1998. "Reform from Within," NBER Working Papers 6497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: a Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence," Working Papers 9912, Economic Research Forum, revised Apr 1999.
  4. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
  5. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2002. "An African Success Story: Botswana," CEPR Discussion Papers 3219, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Alberto F. Ades & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Evidence on Growth, Increasing Returns and the Extent of the Market," NBER Working Papers 4714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Sebastian Edwards, 1991. "Trade Orientation, Distortions and Growth in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 3716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ben-David, Dan, 1993. "Equalizing Exchange: Trade Liberalization and Income Convergence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 653-79, August.
  9. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey, 1997. "Foreign Speculators and Emerging Equity Markets," NBER Working Papers 6312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Wacziarg, Romain & Wallack, Jessica Seddon, 2004. "Trade liberalization and intersectoral labor movements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 411-439, December.
  11. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey & Christian Lundblad, 2001. "Does Financial Liberalization Spur Growth?," NBER Working Papers 8245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Wacziarg, Romain, 1998. "Measuring the dynamic gains from trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2001, The World Bank.
  13. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
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