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The Globalization of Trade and Democracy, 1870-2000

  • J. Ernesto Lopez-Cordova
  • Christopher M. Meissner

We study whether international trade fosters democracy. The likely endogeneity between democracy and trade is addressed via the gravity model of trade, allowing us to obtain a measure of natural openness. This serves as our instrumental variable for actual trade openness à la Frankel and Romer (1999). We use this powerful instrument to obtain estimates of the causal impact of openness on democratization. A positive impact of openness on democracy is apparent from about 1895 onwards. Late nineteenth century trade globalization may have helped generate the "first wave" of democratization. Between 1920 and 1938 countries more exposed to international trade were less likely to become authoritarian. Finally, our post-World War II results suggest that a one standard deviation increase in trade with other countries could bring countries like Indonesia, Russia or Venezuela to be as democratic as the US, Great Britain or France. We also see some variation in the impact of openness by region and note that commodity exporters and petroleum producers do not seem to become more democratic by exporting more of such items.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11117.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11117.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11117
Note: DAE ITI POL
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  1. Lopez-Cordova, J. Ernesto & Meissner, Chris, 2000. "Exchange-Rate Regimes and International Trade: Evidence from the Classical Gold Standard Era," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt1b04r034, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Barro, Robert J, 1996. " Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
  3. Wolf, Nikolaus & Ritschl, Albrecht, 2003. "Endogeneity of Currency Areas and Trade Blocs: Evidence from the Inter-War Period," Papers 2004,10, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Center for Applied Statistics and Economics (CASE).
  4. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S158-S183, December.
  5. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
  6. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2000. "Commercial Policy with Altruistic Voters," NBER Working Papers 7984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
  8. Porto, Guido G., 2006. "Using survey data to assess the distributional effects of trade policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 140-160, September.
  9. Eichengreen, Barry & Irwin, Douglas A., 1995. "Trade blocs, currency blocs and the reorientation of world trade in the 1930s," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1-2), pages 1-24, February.
  10. Ianchovichina, Elena & Nicita, Alessandro & Soloaga, Isidro, 2001. "Trade reform and household welfare : the case of Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2667, The World Bank.
  11. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, June.
  12. Borraz Fernando & Lopez-Cordova Jose Ernesto, 2007. "Has Globalization Deepened Income Inequality in Mexico?," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-57, February.
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