The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper examines the empirical relationship between trade and total factor productivity (TFP) in South Africa. It uses (i) a time series approach where trade is defined in terms of aggregate outcomes, i.e., as the share of imports plus exports in GDP, and (ii) a cross sectional approach, where trade is defined in terms of trade policy, i.e., as actual trade protection across different manufacturing sectors. The results indicate that there is a significant positive relationship between trade and TFP growth both over time and across sectors.