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Does institutional quality foster economic complexity?

Vu, Trung V. (2019): Does institutional quality foster economic complexity?

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This paper examines the extent to which the quality of institutions, measured by the Economic Freedom of the World index, helps shape cross-country differences in economic complexity. To this end, I employ the intensity of ultraviolet radiation (UV-R) to isolate an exogenous source of variation in institutions, which helps circumvent endogeneity concerns. Empirical results indicate that the exogenous component of institutional quality exerts a strong and robust positive effect on economic complexity. The findings prevail after performing a battery of robustness tests. Furthermore, I find that institutions affect economic complexity by inducing human capital accumulation and strengthening incentives for innovative activities.

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