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Economic and Political Liberalizations

  • Francesco Giavazzi
  • Guido Tabellini

This paper studies empirically the effects of and the interactions amongst economic and political liberalizations. Economic liberalizations are measured by a widely used indicator that captures the scope of the market in the economy, and in particular of policies towards freer international trade (cf. Sachs and Werner 1995, Wacziarg and Welch 2003). Political liberalizations correspond to the event of becoming a democracy. Using a difference-in-difference estimation, we ask what are the effects of liberalizations on economic performance, on macroeconomic policy and on structural policies. The main results concern the quantitative relevance of the feedback and interaction effects between the two kinds of reforms. First, we find positive feedback effects between economic and political reforms. The timing of events indicates that causality is more likely to run from political to economic liberalizations, rather than viceversa, but we cannot rule out feedback effects in both directions. Second, the sequence of reforms matters. Countries that first liberalize and then become democracies do much better than countries that pursue the opposite sequence, in almost all dimensions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10657.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Giavazzi, Francesco and Guido Tabellini. "Economic And Political Liberalizations," Journal of Monetary Economics, 2005, v52(7,Oct), 1297-1330.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10657
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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.
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  9. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1994. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," NBER Working Papers 4956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  18. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Adam Przeworski & Fernando Limongi, 1993. "Political Regimes and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-69, Summer.
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  23. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
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