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Neoliberalism’s relationship with economic growth in the developing world: Was it the power of the market or the resolution of financial crisis?

  • Cohen, Joseph N
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    This article examines the relationship between "economic freedom" and economic growth. Previous studies have found a positive relationship between economic growth rates and "economic freedom", and used this relationship as a basis for arguing that more liberal economic policies promote development. "Economic freedom" conflates laissez-faire policy with other important concepts, like good governance and macroeconomic stability. When laissez-faire is parsed from these other concepts, it shows no positive relationship with growth outside of the early-1990s, a period in which financially-strained developing governments and financial systems enjoyed debt bailouts in exchange for liberalization reforms. Further analysis shows that laissez-faire exerts no discernible effect on economic growth net of the debt relief, inflation containment and improved inward investment that occurred after the Cold War. I argue that free market capitalism itself may not have promoted economic development in the post-Cold War era. Instead, free market reforms occurred alongside domestic and international political developments that helped developing countries resolve a serious financial crises, and that the resolution of these crises were most important in explaining the comparative prosperity of the 1990s and 2000s.

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    File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/24399/1/MPRA_paper_24399.pdf
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    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 24399.

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    Date of creation: 15 Jul 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:24399
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    1. Guasch, J Luis & Hahn, Robert W, 1999. "The Costs and Benefits of Regulation: Implications for Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 137-58, February.
    2. Jakob de Haan & Susanna Lundstroem & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2005. "Market oriented institutions and policies and economic growth: A critical survey," TWI Research Paper Series 5, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    3. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2001. "Do We Really Know that Oil Caused the Great Stagflation? A Monetary Alternative," NBER Working Papers 8389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Flood, Robert & Marion, Nancy, 1999. "Perspectives on the Recent Currency Crisis Literature," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(1), pages 1-26, January.
    5. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1991. "The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dorn91-1.
    6. James Honaker & Gary King & Matthew Blackwell, . "Amelia II: A Program for Missing Data," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 45(i07).
    7. Stern, Charlotta & Klein, Daniel B., 2006. "Is There a Free-Market Economist in the House? The Policy Views of American Economic Association Members," Working Paper Series 6/2006, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    8. Kolodko, Grzegorz W., 2000. "From Shock to Therapy: The Political Economy of Postsocialist Transformation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198297437.
    9. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1997. "I Just Ran Two Million Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 178-83, May.
    10. Berggren, Niclas, 2003. "The Benefits of Economic Freedom: A Survey," Ratio Working Papers 4, The Ratio Institute.
    11. Axel Dreher, 2002. "The Development and Implementation of IMF and World Bank Conditionality," International Finance 0207003, EconWPA.
    12. Cohen, Joseph N, 2009. "Is “economic freedom” strictly free market capitalism? A decompositional analysis of the Economic Freedom of the World index," MPRA Paper 22437, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. repec:reg:rpubli:120 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Bruton, H.J., 1998. "A Reconsideration of Import Substitution," Center for Development Economics 156, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    15. Henry J. Bruton, 1998. "A Reconsideration of Import Substitution," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 903-936, June.
    16. Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Review of Easterly's The Elusive Quest for Growth," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 907-918, September.
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