3,085 research outputs found

    International Trade and Institutional Change

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    This paper analyzes the impact of international trade on the quality of institutions, such as contract enforcement, property rights, or investor protection. It presents a model in which institutional differences play two roles: they create rents for some parties within the economy, and they are a source of comparative advantage in trade. Institutional quality is determined in a Grossman-Helpman type lobbying game. When countries share the same technology, there is a race to the top" in institutional quality: irrespective of country characteristics, both trade partners are forced to improve institutions after opening. On the other hand, domestic institutions will not improve in either trading partner when one of the countries has a strong enough technological comparative advantage in the good that relies on institutions. We test these predictions in a sample of 141 countries, by extending the geography-based methodology of Frankel and Romer (1999). Countries whose exogenous geographical characteristics predispose them to exporting in institutionally intensive sectors enjoy significantly higher institutional quality.trade, institutional change

    International Trade and Institutional Change

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    This paper analyzes the impact of international trade on the quality of institutions, such as contract enforcement, property rights, or investor protection. It presents a model in which imperfect institutions create rents for some parties within the economy, and are a source of comparative advantage in trade. Institutional quality is determined as an equilibrium of a political economy game. When countries share the same technology, there is a "race to the top'' in institutional quality: irrespective of country characteristics, both trade partners are forced to improve institutions after opening. On the other hand, domestic institutions will not improve in either country when one of the countries has a strong enough technological comparative advantage in the institutionally intensive good. We provide empirical evidence for a related cross-sectional prediction of the model. Countries whose exogenous geographical characteristics predispose them to exporting in institutionally intensive sectors exhibit significantly higher institutional quality.

    The Evolution of Comparative Advantage: Measurement and Welfare Implications

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    Using an industry-level dataset of production and trade spanning 75 countries and 5 decades, and a fully speciÞed multi-sector Ricardian model, we estimate productivities at sector level and examine how they evolve over time in both developed and developing countries. We find that in both country groups, comparative advantage has become weaker: productivity grew systematically faster in sectors that were initially at the greater comparative disadvantage. The global welfare implications of this phenomenon are significant. Relative to the counterfactual scenario in which an individual countryÕs comparative advantage remained the same as in the 1960s, and technology in all sectors grew at the same country-specific average rate, welfare today is 1.9% lower at the median. The welfare impact varies greatly across countries, ranging from -0.5% to 6% among OECD countries, and from -9% to 27% among non-OECD countries. Remarkably, for the OECD countries, nearly all of the welfare impact is driven by changes in technology in OECD countries, and for the non-OECD countries, nearly all of the welfare impact is driven by changes in technology in non-OECD countries.evolution of comparative advantage, welfare, Ricardian models of trade

    Openness, Volatility and the Risk Content of Exports

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    It has been observed that more open countries experience higher output growth volatility. This paper uses an industry-level panel dataset of manufacturing production and trade to analyze the mechanisms through which trade can affect the volatility of production. We find that sectors with higher trade are more volatile and that trade leads to increased specialization. These two forces act to increase overall volatility. We also find that sectors which are more open to trade are less correlated with the rest of the economy, an effect that acts to reduce aggregate volatility. The point estimates indicate that each of the three effects has an appreciable impact on aggregate volatility. Added together they imply that a one standard deviation change in trade openness is associated with an increase in aggregate volatility of about 15% of the mean volatility observed in the data. The results are also used to provide estimates of the welfare cost of increased volatility under several sets of assumptions. We then propose a summary measure of the riskiness of a country's pattern of export specialization, and analyze its features across countries and over time. There is a great deal of variation in countries' risk content of exports, but it does not have a simple relationship to the level of income or other country characteristicsTrade, Output Volatility, Risk Content of Exports

    Trade and financial development

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    The differences in financial development between advanced and developing countries are pronounced. It has been observed, both theoretically and empirically, that these differences in countries'financial systems are a source of comparative advantage and trade. This paper points out that to the extent a country's financial development is endogenous, it will in turn be influenced by trade. The paper builds a model in which a country's financial development is an equilibrium outcome of the economy's productive structure: in countries with large financially intensive sectors financial systems are more developed. When a wealthy and a poor country open to trade, the financially dependent sectors grow in the wealthy country, and so does the financial system. By contrast, as the financially intensive sectors shrink in the poor country, demand for external finance decreases and the domestic financial system deteriorates. This paper describes the authors'test model using data on financial development for a sample of 77 countries. The authors find that the main predictions of the model are borne out in the data: trade openness is associatedwith faster financial development in wealthier countries, and with slower financial development in poorer ones.Payment Systems&Infrastructure,Economic Theory&Research,Environmental Economics&Policies,Fiscal&Monetary Policy,Labor Policies,Economic Theory&Research,Environmental Economics&Policies,TF054105-DONOR FUNDED OPERATION ADMINISTRATION FEE INCOME AND EXPENSE ACCOUNT,Macroeconomic Management,Inequality

    Trade, inequality, and the political economy of institutions

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    The authors analyze the relationship between international trade and the quality of economic institutions such as contract enforcement, rule of law, or property rights. The literature on institutions has argued, both empirically and theoretically, that larger firms care less about good institutions and that higher inequality leads to worse institutions. Recent literature on international trade enables the authors to analyze economies with heterogeneous firms, and argue that trade opening leads to a reallocation of production in which large firms grow larger, while small firms become smaller or disappear. Combining these two strands of literature, the authors build a model that has two key features. First, preferences over institutional quality differ across firms and depend on firm size. Second, institutional quality is endogenously determined in a political economy framework. They show that trade opening can worsen institutions when it increases the political power of a small elite of large exporters that prefer to maintain bad institutions. The detrimental effect of trade on institutions is most likely to occur when a small country captures a sufficiently large share of world exports in sectors characterized by economic profits.Economic Theory&Research,Free Trade,Trade Law,Trade Policy,Trade and Services

    Firm Entry, Trade, and Welfare in Zipf's World

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    Firm size follows Zipf's Law, a very fat-tailed distribution that implies a few large firms account for a disproportionate share of overall economic activity. This distribution of firm size is crucial for evaluating the welfare impact of macroeconomic policies such as barriers to entry or trade liberalization. Using a multi-country model of production and trade in which the parameters are calibrated to match the observed distribution of firm size, we show that the welfare impact of high entry costs is small. In the sample of the largest 50 economies in the world, a reduction in entry costs all the way to the U.S. level leads to an average increase in welfare of only 3.25%. In addition, when the firm size distribution follows Zipf's Law, the welfare impact of the extensive margin of trade -- newly imported goods -- vanishes. The extensive margin of imports accounts for only about 3.5% of the total gains from a 10% reduction in trade barriers in our model. This is because under Zipf's Law, the large, inframarginal firms have a far greater welfare impact than the much smaller firms that comprise the extensive margin in these policy experiments. The distribution of firm size matters for these results: in a counterfactual model economy that does not exhibit Zipf's Law the gains from a reduction in entry barriers are an order of magnitude larger, while the gains from trade liberalization are an order of magnitude smaller.Zipf's Law, welfare, entry costs, trade barriers

    Comparative advantage, demand for external finance, and financial development

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    The differences in the levels of financial development between industrial and developing countries are large and persistent. Theoretical and empirical literature has argued that these differences are the source of comparative advantage and could therefore shape trade patterns. This paper points out the reverse link: financial development is influenced by comparative advantage. The authors illustrate this idea using a model in which a country's financial development is an equilibrium outcome of the economy's productive structure: financial systems are more developed in countries with large financially intensive sectors. After trade opening demand for external finance, and therefore financial development, are higher in a country that specializes in financially intensive goods. By contrast, financial development is lower in countries that primarily export goods which do not rely on external finance. The authors demonstrate this effect empirically using data on financial development and export patterns in a panel of 96 countries over the period 1970-99. Using trade data, they construct a summary measure of a country's external finance need of exports and relate it to the level of financial development. In order to overcome the simultaneity problem, they adopt a strategy in the spirit of Frankel and Romer (1999). The authorsexploit sector-level bilateral trade data to construct, for each country and time period, a predicted value of external finance need of exports based on the estimated effect of geography variables on trade volumes across sectors. Their results indicate that financial development is an equilibrium outcome that depends strongly on a country's trade pattern.Economic Theory&Research,Free Trade,Trade Policy,Investment and Investment Climate,Trade Law

    The Risk Content of Exports: A Portfolio View of International Trade

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    It has been suggested that countries whose exports are in especially risky sectors will experience higher output volatility. This paper develops a measure of the riskiness of a country's pattern of export specialization, and illustrates its features across countries and over time. The exercise reveals large cross-country differences in the risk content of exports. This measure is strongly correlated with the volatility of terms-of-trade, total exports, and output, but does not exhibit a close relationship to the level of income, overall trade openness, or other country characteristics. We then propose an explanation for what determines the risk content of exports, based on the theoretical literature exemplified by Turnovsky (1974). Countries with a comparative advantage in safe sectors or a strong enough comparative advantage in risky sectors will specialize, whereas countries whose comparative advantage in risky sectors is not too strong will diversify their export structure to insure against export income risk. We use both non-parametric and semiparametric techniques to demonstrate that these theoretical predictions are strongly supported by the data.trade, exports, risks

    Putting the Parts Together: Trade, Vertical Linkages, and Business Cycle Comovement

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    A well established empirical result is that countries that trade more with each other exhibit higher business cycle correlation. This paper examines the mechanisms underlying this relationship using a large cross-country industry-level panel dataset of manufacturing production and trade. We show that higher bilateral trade in an individual sector increases both the co-movement within the sector between trading countries, as well as the comovement between that sector and the rest of the economy of the trading partner. We also demonstrate that vertical linkages in production are an important force behind the overall impact of trade on business cycle synchronization. The elasticity of comovement with respect to bilateral trade is significantly higher in industry pairs that use each other as intermediate inputs in production. Our estimates imply that vertical production linkages account for some 30% of the total impact of bilateral trade on business cycle correlation for our full country sample. Finally, the positive impact of trade on industry-level comovement is far more pronounced in the North-North country pairs compared to either the South-South or North-South country pairs. However, the relative contribution of vertical linkages to aggregate comovement is roughly three times greater for North-South trade than North-North trade.trade, institutional change
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