Does Trade Reform Promote Economic Growth? A Review of Recent Evidence

53 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2019 Last revised: 6 May 2023

See all articles by Douglas A. Irwin

Douglas A. Irwin

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; Peterson Institute for International Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2019

Abstract

Do trade reforms that significantly reduce import barriers lead to faster economic growth? In the two decades since Rodríguez and Rodrik’s (2000) critical survey of empirical work on this question, new research has tried to overcome the various methodological problems that have plagued previous attempts to provide a convincing answer. This paper examines three strands of recent work on this issue: cross-country regressions focusing on within-country growth, synthetic control methods on specific reform episodes, and empirical country studies looking at the channels through which lower trade barriers may increase productivity. A consistent finding is that trade reforms have a positive impact on economic growth, on average, although the effect is heterogeneous across countries. Overall, these research findings should temper some of the previous agnosticism about the empirical link between trade reform and economic performance.

Suggested Citation

Irwin, Douglas A., Does Trade Reform Promote Economic Growth? A Review of Recent Evidence (June 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25927, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3402814

Douglas A. Irwin (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
21
Abstract Views
887
PlumX Metrics