Rodrik (2008) claims that weak institutions hurt the development of the tradable sector more than that of the nontradable sector and that undervaluation can foster growth by diminishing the distortion created by weak institutions between the two sectors. Using the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) dataset on four components of institutional quality, we consider the effects of investment profile, law and order, corruption, and bureaucratic quality upon the relative development of the tradable sector to the nontradable sector, which is measured by the ratio of industry value added to services valued added. On the basis of comparison of the two sectors, the panel evidence of 131 countries indicates that none of the four components mentioned above is positively associated with the relative development of the tradable sector to the nontradable sector. That is, the tradable sector does not suffer disproportionately (compared to the nontradable sector) from institutional weaknesses. Our results cast skepticism upon one of Rodrik’s explanations on the growth-promoting effects of real undervaluation because the existence of such a distortion is not supported empirically.
Discussion Paper 2010-04
JEL Classification: F41; F43; O14; O17