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From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimate of Trade and Growth

  • Christian Broda
  • Joshua Greenfield
  • David Weinstein

Starting with Romer [1987] and Rivera-Batiz-Romer [1991] economists have been able to model how trade enhances growth through the creation and import of new varieties. In this framework, international trade increases economic output through two channels. First, trade raises productivity levels because producers gain access to new imported varieties. Second, increases in the number of varieties drives down the cost of innovation and results in ever more variety creation. Using highly disaggregate trade data, e.g. Gabon's imports of Gambian groundnuts, we structurally estimate the impact that new imports have had in approximately 4000 markets per country. We then move from groundnuts to globalization by building an exact TFP index that aggregates these micro gains to obtain an estimate of trade on productivity growth for each country. We find that in the typical country in the world, new imported varieties account for 15 percent of its productivity growth. These effects are larger in developing countries where the median impact of new imported varieties equals a quarter of national productivity growth.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12512.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12512
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  1. Michael Funke & Ralf Ruhwedel, 2000. "Product Variety and Economic Growth - Empirical Evidence for the OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 250, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585, May.
  3. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1988. "Product Development And International Trade," Papers 132, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
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  13. Robert C. Feenstra & Madani & Dorsati & Yang & Tzu-Han & Liang & Chi-Yuan, . "Testing Endogenous Growth In South Korea And Taiwan," Department of Economics 97-16, California Davis - Department of Economics.
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  16. Juan Carlos Hallak & James Levinsohn, 2004. "Fooling Ourselves: Evaluating the Globalization and Growth Debate," Working Papers 509, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  17. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1990. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 3528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  19. Christian Broda & David W. Weinstein, 2004. "Variety Growth and World Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 139-144, May.
  20. Robert C. Feenstra & James R. Markusen, 1992. "Accounting for Growth With New Inputs," NBER Working Papers 4114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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