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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. 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.
  2. Romain Wacziarg & Karen Horn Welch, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 187-231, June.
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  4. Guido W. Imbens, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Exogeneity: A Review," NBER Technical Working Papers 0294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-63, September.
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  7. Harrison, Ann, 1991. "Openness and growth : a time series, cross-country analysis for developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 809, The World Bank.
  8. 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.
  9. Douglas A. Irwin & Marko Tervio, 2000. "Does Trade Raise Income? Evidence from the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 7745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Sebastian Edwards, 1991. "Trade Orientation, Distortions and Growth in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 3716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. International Monetary Fund, 2004. "Once Again, is Openness Good for Growth?," IMF Working Papers 04/135, International Monetary Fund.
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  15. 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.
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  17. Lee, Ha Yan & Ricci, Luca Antonio & Rigobon, Roberto, 2004. "Once again, is openness good for growth?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 451-472, December.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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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