IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Openness, Specialization, and Productivity Growth in Less Developed Countries


  • Diana Weinhold
  • James Rauch


Many empirical studies have found a positive relationship between openness and growth in per capita GDP in less developed countries, and economists have produced many explanations for this correlation. However, the existing studies are consistent with all of these theories and thus do not provide direct evidence in support of any one of them. Quah and Rauch [18] show how increased openness to international trade can lead to increased specialization in models of endogenous growth through learning by doing. These models imply that increased specialization accelerates productivity growth by more fully realizing dynamic economies of scale. In order to test the hypothesis that specialization increases productivity growth in LDCs we first define a Herfindahl index of production specialization for the manufacturing sector in 39 countries. We then present a series of dynamic panel regressions controlling for country fixed effects which show that, for the less developed countries, the index of specialization is positively and significantly correlated with manufacturing productivity growth. We test the robustness of this correlation by including different variables that have been associated with growth in the regressions, such as openness, inflation, government spending, and investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Diana Weinhold & James Rauch, 1997. "Openness, Specialization, and Productivity Growth in Less Developed Countries," NBER Working Papers 6131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6131
    Note: ITI

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edwards, Sebastian, 1992. "Trade orientation, distortions and growth in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 31-57, July.
    2. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6131. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.