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Globalization and Productivity in the Developing World

  • Foellmi, Reto


  • Oechslin, Manuel


We explore the productivity impact of international trade in a monopolistically competitive economy with endogenous mark-ups due to credit market frictions. We show that reducing trade barriers in such an environment (i) may - but not necessarily must – have a negative impact on productivity and output; (ii) is bound to increase the polarization of the income distribution. The reason is that the pro-competitive effects of trade reduce mark-ups and hence the borrowing capacity of less affluent entrepreneurs. As a result, smaller firms may no longer be able to make the investments required to operate the high-productivity technology. Our findings are consistent with evidence from developing countries which (i) does not suggest a clear-cut impact of trade on economic performance; (ii) hints at an inequality-increasing effect of globalization.

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Paper provided by University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science in its series Economics Working Paper Series with number 1203.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2012:03
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  1. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2007. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," NBER Working Papers 13290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
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  4. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2010. "Giving Credit Where It Is Due," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 61-80, Summer.
  5. Manuel Oechslin & Reto Foellmi, 2006. "Market Imperfections, Wealth Inequality, and the Distribution of Trade Gains," IEW - Working Papers 266, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2004. "Credit Market Imperfections and Patterns of International Trade and Capital Flows," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-293, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  7. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2010. "Why Have Economic Reforms in Mexico Not Generated Growth?," NBER Working Papers 16580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2007. "Distributional Effects of Globalization in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 39-82, March.
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  17. Esteban, J. & Ray, D., 1993. "On the Measurement of Polarization," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 221.93, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  18. David N. DeJong & Marla Ripoll, 2006. "Tariffs and Growth: An Empirical Exploration of Contingent Relationships," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 625-640, November.
  19. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
  20. Dani Rodrik, 2010. "Diagnostics before Prescription," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 33-44, Summer.
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  22. Banerjee, Abhijit V. & Duflo, Esther, 2005. "Growth Theory through the Lens of Development Economics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 473-552 Elsevier.
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