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Trade liberalization growth and productivity

  • Timothy J. Kehoe

    (University of Minnesota, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and NBER)

  • Mark J. Gibson

    (Washington State University)

  • Kim J. Ruhl

    (University of Texas at Austin)

  • Claustre Bajona

    (Ryerson University)

There is a lively debate about the impact of trade liberalization on economic growth measured as growth in real gross domestic product (GDP). Most of this literature focuses on the empirical relation between trade and growth. This paper investigates the theoretical relation between trade and growth. We show that standard models — including Ricardian models, Heckscher-Ohlin models, monopolistic competition models with homogeneous firms, and monopolistic competition models with heterogeneous firms — predict that opening to trade increases welfare, not necessarily real GDP as measured in the data. In a dynamic model where trade changes the incentives to accumulate factors of production, trade liberalization may lower growth rates even as it increases welfare. To the extent that trade liberalization leads to higher rates of growth in real GDP, it must do so primarily through mechanisms outside of those analyzed in standard models.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2008 Meeting Papers with number 789.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:789
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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  1. Claustre Bajona & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2006. "Trade, Growth, and Convergence in a Dynamic Heckscher-Ohlin Model," NBER Working Papers 12567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Claustre Bajona & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2006. "Demographics in Dynamic Heckscher-Ohlin Models: Overlapping Generations Versus Infinitely Lived Consumers," NBER Working Papers 12566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2008. "Are Shocks to the Terms of Trade Shocks to Productivity?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 804-819, October.
  4. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Yanikkaya, Halit, 2003. "Trade openness and economic growth: a cross-country empirical investigation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 57-89, October.
  6. Joshua J. Lewer & Hendrik Van den Berg, 2003. "How Large Is International Trade's Effect on Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(3), pages 363-396, 07.
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