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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
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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  1. Rodrik, Dani & Subramanian, Arvind & Trebbi, Francesco, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 3643, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  9. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: a Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence," Working Papers 9912, Economic Research Forum, revised Apr 1999.
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  11. Diewart, W Erwin & Morrison, Catherine J, 1986. "Adjusting Output and Productivity Indexes for Changes in the Terms of Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 659-79, September.
  12. Michaely, Michael, 1977. "Exports and growth : An empirical investigation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 49-53, February.
  13. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 531-555.
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  15. Slaughter, Matthew J., 2001. "Trade liberalization and per capita income convergence: a difference-in-differences analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 203-228, October.
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