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Institutional Quality and the Gains From Trade

  • Borrmann, Axel
  • Busse, Matthias
  • Neuhaus, Silke

While theoretical models suggest that trade is likely to increase productivity and income levels, the empirical evidence is rather mixed. For some countries, trade has a strong impact on growth, whereas for other countries there is no or even a negative linkage. We examine one likely prerequisite for a welfare increasing impact of trade, that is, the role of institutional quality. Using several model specifications, including an instrumental variable approach, we identify those aspects of institutional quality that matter most for the positive linkage between trade and growth. We find that, above all, labour market regulation is the key to reducing trade-related adjustment costs. Market entry regulations, the efficiency of the tax system, the rule of law and government effectiveness do play a role too. In essence, the results demonstrate that countries with low-quality institutions are less likely to benefit from trade.

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Paper provided by Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA) in its series HWWA Discussion Papers with number 341.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:hwwadp:341
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  1. Douglas A. Irwin & Marko Tervio, 2000. "Does Trade Raise Income? Evidence from the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 7745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
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  5. North, Douglass C., 1993. "Economic Performance through Time," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1993-2, Nobel Prize Committee.
  6. Johannes P. Jütting, 2003. "Institutions and Development: A Critical Review," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 210, OECD Publishing.
  7. Raymond Fisman & Virginia Sarria Allende, 2010. "Regulation of entry and the distortion of industrial organization," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 91-111, May.
  8. Revenga, Ana, 1997. "Employment and Wage Effects of Trade Liberalization: The Case of Mexican Manufacturing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S20-43, July.
  9. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
  10. Noguer, Marta & Siscart, Marc, 2005. "Trade raises income: a precise and robust result," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 447-460, March.
  11. John Shea, 1997. "Instrument Relevance in Multivariate Linear Models: A Simple Measure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 348-352, May.
  12. 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.
  13. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
  14. Aron, Janine, 2000. "Growth and Institutions: A Review of the Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(1), pages 99-135, February.
  15. Dollar, David, 1992. "Outward-Oriented Developing Economies Really Do Grow More Rapidly: Evidence from 95 LDCs, 1976-1985," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(3), pages 523-44, April.
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