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Trade liberalization and endogenous growth in a small open economy : a quantitative assessment

  • Rutherford, Thomas F.
  • Tarr, David G.

The authors develop a numerical endogenous growth model approximating an infinite horizon, which allows them to investigate the relationship between trade liberalization and economic growth. Economic theory generally implies that trade liberalization will improve economic growth, and the two phenomena are positively correlated in empirical tests, but the connection is not well-substantiated in numerical general equilibrium models. In the authors'model, an intermediate input affects aggregate output through a Dixit-Stiglitz function. Additional varieties provide the engine of growth in this framework and the existence of this mechanism magnifies the welfare costs. In this model with lump sum revenue replacement, reducing a tariff from 20 percent to 10 percent produces a welfare increase (in terms of Hicksian equivalent variation over the infinite horizon) of 10.7 percent of the present value of consumption in their central model, where the economy is assumed to be unable to borrow on international financial markets. If macroeconomic and financial reforms are in place that would allow international borrowing, however, the same tariff cut is estimated to result in a 37 percent increase in Hicksian equivalent variation. On the other hand, if inefficient replacement taxes must be used in an economy without the capacity to borrow internationally, the gains would be reduced to 4.7 percent. Larger tariff cuts--typical of those in many developing countries over the past 30 years--produce larger estimated welfare gains at least proportionate to the size of the cut. The authors apply the model to five developing countries and estimate the impact of the tariff changes those countries plan to undertake as part of Uruguay Round commitments. Because of the dynamic effects, estimated gains are considerably larger than those found in the literature on the impact of the Uruguay Round.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1970.

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Date of creation: 30 Sep 1998
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1970
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  1. Dani Rodrik, 1992. "The Limits of Trade Policy Reform in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 87-105, Winter.
  2. Harrison, Glenn W. & Rutherford, Thomas F. & Tarr, David G., 1997. "Economic implications for Turkey of a Customs Union with the European Union," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 861-870, April.
  3. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Keller, W., 1996. "Trade and the Transmission of Technology," Working papers 9620, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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  7. Harrison, Glenn W. & Jones, Richard & Kimbell, Larry J. & Wigle, Randal, 1993. "How robust is applied general equilibrium analysis?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 99-115, February.
  8. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. de Melo, Jaime & Tarr, David, 1988. "Welfare costs of U.S. quotas on textiles, steel, and autos," Policy Research Working Paper Series 83, The World Bank.
  10. de Melo, Jaime & Tarr, David, 1990. "Industrial Policy in the Presence of Wage Distortion: The Case of the US Auto and Steel Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 435, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Markusen, James R, 1989. "Trade in Producer Services and in Other Specialized Intermediate Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 85-95, March.
  12. Richard Harris, 1983. "Applied General Equilibrium Analysis of Small Open Economies with Scale Economies and Imperfect Competition," Working Papers 524, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  13. Morkre, Morris & Tarr, David G., 1993. "Reforming Hungarian agricultural trade policy : a quantitative evaluation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1185, The World Bank.
  14. Robert C. Feenstra & James R. Markusen, 1992. "Accounting for Growth With New Inputs," NBER Working Papers 4114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Mercenier, Jean & Michel, Philippe, 2001. "Temporal aggregation in a multi-sector economy with endogenous growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 1179-1191, August.
  16. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
  17. Harrison, Glenn W & Rutherford, Thomas F & Tarr, David G, 1997. "Quantifying the Uruguay Round," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1405-30, September.
  18. Harrison, Glenn W & Rutherford, Thomas F & Tarr, David G, 1993. "Trade Reform in the Partially Liberalized Economy of Turkey," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 7(2), pages 191-217, May.
  19. Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Growth Based on Increasing Returns Due to Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 56-62, May.
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  22. James R. Markusen, 1990. "First Mover Advantages, Blockaded Entry, And the Economics of Uneven Development," NBER Working Papers 3284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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