The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.
Studies of the impact of trade openness on growth are based either on cross-country analysis-which lacks transparency-or case studies-which lack statistical rigor. We apply transparent econometric methods drawn from the treatment evaluation literature to make the comparison between treated (i.e., open) and control (i.e., closed) countries explicit while remaining within a unified statistical framework. First, matching estimators highlight the rather far-fetched country comparisons underlying common cross-country results. When appropriately restricting the sample, we confirm a positive and significant effect of openness on growth. Second, we apply synthetic control methods-which account for endogeneity due to unobservable heterogeneity-to countries that liberalized their trade regime and we show that trade liberalization has often had a positive effect on growth.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
In a press release issued on August 18, the IMF Executive Board announced that on August 3 it had discussed making the independent Evaluation Office operational (see Press Release No. 00/27) and agreed to the publication of the background paper that provided the basis for the discussion, as well as the Chairman’s concluding remarks.
Studies of the impact of trade openness on growth are based either on crosscountry analysis—which lacks transparency—or case studies—which lack statistical rigor. This paper applies a transparent econometric method drawn from the treatment evaluation literature (matching estimators) to make the comparison between treated (that is, open) and control (that is, closed) countries explicit while remaining within a statistical framework. Matching estimators highlight that common cross-country evidence is based on rather far-fetched country comparisons, which stem from the lack of common support of treated and control countries in the covariate space. The paper therefore advocates paying more attention to appropriate sample restriction in crosscountry macro research.
This paper reviews recent theoretical and empirical work on controls over International capital movements. Theoretical contributions reviewed focus on “second-best “ arguments for capital market restrictions, as well as arguments based on multiple equilibria. The empirical literature suggests that controls have been “effective “ in the narrow sense of influencing yield differentials. But there is little evidence that controls have helped governments meet policy objectives, with the exception of reducing the governments’ debt-service costs, and no evidence that controls have enhanced economic welfare in a manner suggested by theory.