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Inefficient Policies, Inefficient Institutions and Trade

  • Ruben Segura-Cayuela

Despite the general belief among economists on the growth-enhancing role of international trade and significant trade opening over the past 25 years, the growth performance of many developing economies, especially of those in Latin America and Africa, has been disappointing. While this poor growth performance has many potential causes, in this paper I argue that part of the reason may be related to the interaction between weak institutions and trade. In particular, I construct a model in which trade opening in societies with weak institutions (in particular autocratic and elite-controlled political systems) may lead to worse economic policies. The reason is that general equilibrium price effects of taxation and expropriation in closed economies also hurt the elites, and this puts a natural barrier against inefficient policies. Trade openness removes this barrier and enables groups with political power to exercise this power in more inefficient ways

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 502.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:502
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  2. Do, Quy-Toan & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2006. "Trade, inequality, and the political economy of institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3836, The World Bank.
  3. Bourguignon, F. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Is Financial Openness bad for Education? A Political Economy Perspective on Development," DELTA Working Papers 1999-20, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
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  6. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2007. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 791-819.
  7. Paolo Epifani & Gino Gancia, 2009. "Openness, Government Size and the Terms of Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 629-668.
  8. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  9. Rubén Segura-Cayuela, 2006. "Inefficient policies, inefficient institutions and trade," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0633, Banco de Espa�a.
  10. Galor, Oded & Mountford, Andrew, 2006. "Trade and the Great Divergence: The Family Connection," CEPR Discussion Papers 5490, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Bourguignon, François & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Political Economy of Education and Development in an Open Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3075, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
  13. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. Epifani, Paolo & Gancia, Gino A, 2007. "On Globalization and the Growth of Governments," CEPR Discussion Papers 6065, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Verdier, Thierry, 2004. "Socially Responsible Trade Integration: A Political Economy Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 4699, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Trade Policy and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," NBER Working Papers 6562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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