Trade openness, export diversification, and political regimes

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Makhlouf, Yousef ; Kellard, Neil M. ; Vinogradov, Dmitri (2015)

Recent studies have challenged the view that trade openness leads to more specialization in countries’ trade. Using a panel of 116 countries over 35 years, we show that openness can be positively associated with both specialization and diversification, depending on the measure used. Moreover, for developing countries in our sample, the effect of openness on trade structure depends on the type of political regime: in autocracies openness is linked with specialization, whilst in democracies it is related to diversification via export sophistication.
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