In 1985, James A. Baker III's “Program for Sustained Growth” proposed a set of economic policy reforms, including inflation stabilization, trade liberalization, greater openness to foreign investment, and privatization, that he believed would lead to faster growth in countries then known as the Third World, but now categorized as emerging and developing economies (EMDEs).
A country-specific, time-series assessment of the reform process reveals three clear facts. First, in the 10-year-period after stabilizing high inflation, the average growth rate of real GDP in EMDEs is 2.6 percentage points higher than in the prior ten-year period. Second, the corresponding growth increase for trade liberalization episodes is 2.66 percentage points. Third, in the decade after opening their capital markets to foreign equity investment, the spread between EMDEs average cost of equity capital and that of the US declines by 240 basis points. The three central facts of reform provide empirical support for the Baker Hypothesis.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Peter Blair Henry is the Class of 1984 Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and dean emeritus of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. The youngest person ever named to the Stern Deanship, Henry has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles in the flagship journals of economics and finance, as well as a book on global economic policy, Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth (Basic Books).
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