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Fooling Ourselves: Evaluating the Globalization and Growth Debate


  • Juan Carlos Hallak
  • James Levinsohn


This paper evaluates how much of the economics profession has evaluated the evidence on the relationship between international trade and economic growth. The paper highlights the basic approaches to the trade and growth question that the literature has adopted. The case is made that more attention needs to be paid to the mechanisms by which trade impacts growth and that future research should move away from a focus on outcomes and look instead at these mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Carlos Hallak & James Levinsohn, 2004. "Fooling Ourselves: Evaluating the Globalization and Growth Debate," NBER Working Papers 10244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10244
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, June.
    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.
    3. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2003. "Institutions, trade, and growth : revisiting the evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3004, The World Bank.
    4. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
    5. Harrison, Ann, 1996. "Openness and growth: A time-series, cross-country analysis for developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 419-447, March.
    6. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
    7. Edwards, Sebastian, 1998. "Openness, Productivity and Growth: What Do We Really Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 383-398, March.
    8. Irwin, Douglas A. & Tervio, Marko, 2002. "Does trade raise income?: Evidence from the twentieth century," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-18, October.
    9. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    10. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    11. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    12. 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.
    13. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 2001. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 261-338 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to Cross-National Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2007. "The Effects of the Colombian Trade Liberalization on Urban Poverty," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization and Poverty, pages 241-290 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Rendón Obando, Hernando & Ramírez Franco, Luz Dary, 2017. "Impacto de la inversión extranjera directa y del grado de apertura de la economía sobre el crecimiento económico para América Latina 1980-2010/Impact of Foreign Direct Investment and Openness Degree o," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 35, pages 217-244, Enero.
    3. Albert Park & Dean Yang & Xinzheng Shi & Yuan Jiang, 2010. "Exporting and Firm Performance: Chinese Exporters and the Asian Financial Crisis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 822-842, November.
    4. Roberto Alvarez & Ricardo Lopez, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Industry Dynamics: A Difference in Difference Approach," Caepr Working Papers 2008-009, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    5. Scott C. Bradford & Paul L. E. Grieco & Gary Clyde Hufbauer, 2006. "The Payoff to America from Globalisation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(7), pages 893-916, July.
    6. Sanderson , Lynda, 2004. "Trade and Networks: Mechanisms for Productivity Growth," Occasional Papers 06/5, Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand.
    7. Iacovone, Leonardo, 2012. "The better you are the stronger it makes you: Evidence on the asymmetric impact of liberalization," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 474-485.
    8. Michael E. Waugh, 2010. "International Trade and Income Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2093-2124, December.
    9. Costantini, Valeria & Monni, Salvatore, 2008. "Environment, human development and economic growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 867-880, February.
    10. Luca De Benedictis & Lucia Tajoli, 2005. "Similarity in export composition and catching-up," Working Papers 28-2005, Macerata University, Department of Finance and Economic Sciences, revised Oct 2008.
    11. Monojit Chatterji & Sushil Mohan & Sayantan Ghosh Dastidar, 2014. "Relationship Between Trade Openness And Economic Growth Of India: A Time Series Analysis," Journal of Academic Research in Economics, Spiru Haret University, Faculty of Accounting and Financial Management Constanta, vol. 6(1 (March)), pages 45-69.
    12. Christian Broda & Joshua Greenfield & David Weinstein, 2006. "From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimate of Trade and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Silvia Adriana Peluffo Geronazzo, 2016. "Increased trade openness, productivity, employment and wages: a difference-in-differences approach," Estudios Regionales en Economía, Población y Desarrollo. Cuadernos de Trabajo de la Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. 32, Cuerpo Académico 41 de la Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, revised 01 Apr 2016.
    14. László Halpern & Miklós Koren & Adam Szeidl, 2015. "Imported Inputs and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(12), pages 3660-3703, December.
    15. Patrick Artus, 2006. "Intégration commerciale avec des pays émergents ayant des ressources importantes en main-d'œuvre qualifiée. Quels effets pour les pays européens ?," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(4), pages 673-704.
    16. Grieben, Wolf-Heimo & Sener, Fuat, 2009. "Globalization, rent protection institutions, and going alone in freeing trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1042-1065, November.
    17. Anis Chowdhury, 2012. "Structural Adjustment and Crises –Which Way Now?," Institutions and Economies (formerly known as International Journal of Institutions and Economies), Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, vol. 4(1), pages 85-118, April.
    18. Causa, Orsetta & Cohen, Daniel, 2006. "Industrial Productivity in 51 Countries, Rich and Poor," CEPR Discussion Papers 5549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

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