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The quantitative importance of openness in development

Author

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  • Wenbiao Cai
  • B. Ravikumar
  • Raymond Riezman

Abstract

This paper deals with a classic development question: how can the process of economic development – transition from stagnation in a traditional technology to industrialization and prosperity with a modern technology – be accelerated? Lewis (1954) and Rostow (1956) argue that the pace of industrialization is limited by the rate of capital formation which in turn is limited by the savings rate of workers close to subsistence. We argue that access to capital goods in the world market can be quantitatively important in speeding up the transition. We develop a parsimonious open-economy model where traditional and modern technologies coexist (a dual economy in the sense of Lewis (1954)). We show that a decline in the world price of capital goods in an open economy increases the rate of capital formation and speeds up the pace of industrialization relative to a closed economy that lacks access to cheaper capital goods. In the long run, the investment rate in the open economy is twice as high as in the closed economy and the per capita income is 23 percent higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Wenbiao Cai & B. Ravikumar & Raymond Riezman, 2013. "The quantitative importance of openness in development," Working Papers 2013-025, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2013-025
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Uy, Timothy & Yi, Kei-Mu & Zhang, Jing, 2013. "Structural change in an open economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(6), pages 667-682.
    2. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
    3. Caroline Betts & Rahul Giri & Rubina Verma, 2017. "Trade, Reform, and Structural Transformation in South Korea," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 65(4), pages 745-791, November.
    4. Restuccia, Diego & Urrutia, Carlos, 2001. "Relative prices and investment rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 93-121, February.
    5. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306, January.
    6. Westphal, Larry E, 1990. "Industrial Policy in an Export-Propelled Economy: Lessons from South Korea's Experience," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 41-59, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hallonsten, Jan Simon & Ziesemer, Thomas, 2016. "A semi-endogenous growth model for developing countries with public factors, imported capital goods, and limited export demand," MERIT Working Papers 004, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic development ; Economic conditions;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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