Journal article

Institutions and Development: The Interaction Between Trade Regime and Political System


  • 2005
Published in:
  • Journal of Economic Growth. - Springer Science and Business Media LLC. - 2005, vol. 10, p. 231-272
English This paper argues that an unequal distribution of political power, biased to landed elites and owners of natural resources, in combination with openness to trade is a major obstacle to development of natural resource- or land-abundant economies. We develop a two-sector general equilibrium model and show that in an oligarchic society public investments conducive to industrialization— schooling for example—are typically lower in an open than in a closed economy. Moreover, we find that, under openness to trade, development is faster in a democratic system. We also endogenize the trade regime and demonstrate that in a land-abundant economy the landed elite has an interest to support openness to trade. We present historical evidence for Southern economies in the Americas that is consistent with our theoretical results: Resistance of landed elites to mass education, comparative advantages in primary goods production in the 19th century globalization wave, and low primary school enrollment and literacy rates.
Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales et du management
Département d'économie politique
  • English
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