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Trade Openness and Growth; Pursuing Empirical Glasnost

  • Andreas Billmeier
  • Tommaso Nannicini

Studies of the impact of trade openness on growth are based either on cross-country analysis-which lacks transparency-or case studies-which lack statistical rigor. We apply transparent econometric methods drawn from the treatment evaluation literature to make the comparison between treated (i.e., open) and control (i.e., closed) countries explicit while remaining within a unified statistical framework. First, matching estimators highlight the rather far-fetched country comparisons underlying common cross-country results. When appropriately restricting the sample, we confirm a positive and significant effect of openness on growth. Second, we apply synthetic control methods-which account for endogeneity due to unobservable heterogeneity-to countries that liberalized their trade regime and we show that trade liberalization has often had a positive effect on growth.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 07/156.

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Length: 52
Date of creation: 01 Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/156
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  1. Wacziarg, Romain & Welch, Karen Horn, 2003. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," Research Papers 1826, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  2. Francesco Giavazzi & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Economic and Political Liberalizations," Working Papers 264, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  3. Vamvakidis, Athanasios, 2002. " How Robust Is the Growth-Openness Connection? Historical Evidence," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 57-80, March.
  4. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. Temple, Jonathan, 2000. "Growth Regressions and What the Textbooks Don't Tell You," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 181-205, July.
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  7. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
  8. Ann Harrison, 1995. "Openness and Growth: A Time-Series, Cross-Country Analysis for Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 5221, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
  10. International Monetary Fund, 2004. "Once Again, is Openness Good for Growth?," IMF Working Papers 04/135, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Alberto Abadie & Alexis Diamond & Jens Hainmueller, 2007. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California's Tobacco Control Program," NBER Technical Working Papers 0335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
  13. Slaughter, Matthew J., 2001. "Trade liberalization and per capita income convergence: a difference-in-differences analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 203-228, October.
  14. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  15. Edwards, Sebastian, 1992. "Trade orientation, distortions and growth in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 31-57, July.
  16. Sebastian Edwards & I. Igal Magendzo, 2002. "Dollarization and Economic Performance: What Do We Really Know?," Working Papers 65, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  17. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
  18. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2003. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case Study of the Basque Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 113-132, March.
  19. Ruben Atoyan & Patrick Conway, 2006. "Evaluating the impact of IMF programs: A comparison of matching and instrumental-variable estimators," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 99-124, June.
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  21. Pritchett, Lant, 2000. "Understanding Patterns of Economic Growth: Searching for Hills among Plateaus, Mountains, and Plains," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 221-50, May.
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