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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
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:502
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  1. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Trade Policy and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," NBER Working Papers 6562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2007. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 791-819.
  3. Verdier, Thierry, 2004. "Socially Responsible Trade Integration: A Political Economy Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 4699, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Paolo Epifani & Gino Gancia, 2005. "On Globalization and the Growth of Governments," Working Papers 267, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Do, Quy-Toan & Levchenko, Andrei A., 2009. "Trade, inequality, and the political economy of institutions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1489-1520, July.
  6. 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.
  7. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ruben Segura-Cayuela, 2006. "Inefficient Policies, Inefficient Institutions and Trade," 2006 Meeting Papers 502, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Romain Wacziarg & Karen Horn Welch, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 187-231, June.
  11. 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.
  12. François Bourguignon & Thierry Verdier, 2001. "The Political Economy of Education and Development in an Open Economy," DELTA Working Papers 2001-11, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  13. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  14. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
  15. 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).
  16. Oded Galor & Andrew Mountford, 2006. "Trade and the Great Divergence: The Family Connection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 299-303, May.
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