Does trade openness improve the quality of domestic institutions? Evidence from Africa




international trade, trade openness, quality of institutions, Arica, panel data models, socio-economic development


Research background: The research article deals with impacts of international trade openness on institutions in less developed economies, namely in Africa.

Purpose of the article: It investigates the impacts of international trade openness on institutional quality in Africa measured by twelve various variables.

Methods: It applies generalized methods of moments to a dynamic panel data of 34 African countries in the period of 1988?2012. Institutional quality data come from International Country Risk Guide, the rest from World Development Indicators and UNESCO databases.

Findings & value added: Our results indicate that in the case of Africa, trade openness seems to be a positive and significant determinant of institutional quality, however, it differs across various institutional variables. Trade openness brings a positive impact on government stability, bureaucracy and law and order, we also identify its conflict-mitigating effects. This happens, unfortunately, with an exemption for natural resources exports. Trade openness also positively influences security and socioeconomic conditions, although we find the link much weaker. Regarding our control variables, we find two interesting results. First, GDP per capita has a strong and positive association with institutional quality when measured by one bundled indicator, however, individual variables show different intensities. Second, we find a strong and positive association of net foreign direct investment inflows and government stability. The added value of this research lies not only in focus on the less researched relationship, i.e., how trade impacts the institutional quality, but dominantly in focus on many institutional variables at once and comparison of their effects. Other empirical studies usually focus on selected variables only, or on selected trade items (natural resources).


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How to Cite

Němečková, T., & Hayat, A. (2022). Does trade openness improve the quality of domestic institutions? Evidence from Africa. Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, 17(4), 881–908.