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Closed Economy


A closed economy is an economic model that refers to a country that does not engage in international trade, neither exporting nor importing goods and services. It focuses entirely on the domestic production of goods and services and self-sufficiency. It’s a theoretical concept as no economy is completely closed in reality.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Closed Economy” is /ˈkloʊzd ɪˈkɑːnəmi/.

Key Takeaways

  1. A closed economy is self-sufficient, meaning it does not interact with any other economies around the world. It does not participate in international trading of goods and services, and does not engage in international investment or borrowing.
  2. In a closed economy, all production is consumed domestically, thereby eliminating the need for imports. Similarly, there are no exports because all products are consumed within the economy. This results in a unique economic environment that can significantly diverge from the global economy.
  3. Closed economies are largely considered theoretical constructs because in today’s global economy, even the most insulated economies interact with other nations in significant ways. However, understanding the concept of a closed economy can provide important insights into economic dynamics and guide policymakers in managing economic activity and making optimal decisions.


The term “Closed Economy” is important in business and finance as it refers to an economic system where all production and consumption activities are carried out within the country’s borders, and there’s no interaction with other economies in terms of imports and exports. It exhibits self-sufficiency, but it can also limit the potential for growth and development as resources are limited to what is available domestically. A firm understanding of this concept is vital in global business operations and international finance, offering insights into a country’s economic strategy and the potential impact on local industries, employment rates, and overall economic health. It also provides a comparative basis for understanding open economies.


A closed economy serves to insulate a nation from the global economic system, aiming to be self-sufficient with minimal reliance on international trade, foreign investment, and foreign aid. This approach is mainly used to stimulate domestic industries, protect local jobs, and maintain economic stability without being influenced by the economic decisions of other nations or global economic downturns. Countries might choose to position themselves as closed economies to nurture and boost their domestic sectors, become self-reliant in strategic areas like food production or defense equipment, or to maintain political isolation.Closed economy practices are used to focus on internal development and protection of domestic industries. Policies such as tariffs, quotas, and subsidies might be implemented to discourage imports and shield local firms from international competition thereby fostering domestic product consumption. These practices may also keep capital from fleeing the country during economic downturns, providing stability. However, a caveat to this approach is that restricting foreign competition can lead to complacency among domestic industries, leading to inefficiency, higher prices, and poor quality products over the long term.


A closed economy refers to an economic system where the country has no business or trading relations with other countries. It doesn’t participate in international trading, meaning it doesn’t import or export goods, services, or financial assets. Here are three examples of closed economies:1. North Korea: Arguably the most isolated economy in the world, North Korea’s economy is essentially closed. Most foreign businesses are banned, and nearly all of its international trade is restricted, typically only happening with its closest ally, China.2. Cuba: Despite recent efforts to open its economy, Cuba remains largely closed off from the global economy. This is largely due to a combination of the U.S. trade embargo, government policies, limited internet access, and restrictions on foreign investment.3. Bhutan: This small kingdom in the Himalayas was a closed economy for many years. It wasn’t until the 1970s that foreign tourists were allowed to visit, and even then the number was limited. Bhutan has opened up somewhat in recent times, but parts of its economy remain isolated from the global market. Please note, totally closed economies are rare today and the degree of openness varies among these examples. They have some limited trade relations but are generally considered more closed than open in comparison to other global economies.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a closed economy?

A closed economy is a type of economy where domestic producers only trade within the borders of their own country. They do not engage in international trade with other countries in terms of imports and exports.

How is a closed economy different from an open economy?

While a closed economy consists only of internal trade, an open economy participates in both internal and international trade. In other words, open economies allow the importation and exportation of goods and services.

Does a truly closed economy exist?

Today, there are no truly closed economies. Even countries with restrictive trade policies still engage in some level of international trade. However, some economies are comparably more closed off than others due to their economic policies.

What are some disadvantages of a closed economy?

Disadvantages of a closed economy can include limited market size, lack of competition, lack of technological advancement, and potentially high levels of inefficiency due to the absence of external competition.

What are some advantages of a closed economy?

Advantages can include protection of domestic industries, maintaining job security within the country, and the ability to make independent economic decisions without considering the impact of international competition or pressures.

How does a closed economy affect businesses?

In a closed economy, businesses only have a domestic market to sell to and face less competition as no foreign companies can enter the market. This could lead to either complacency or an emphasis on innovation to capture more market share.

Does a closed economy have any impact on consumers?

Yes, consumers in a closed economy may face less variety in products and services, and potentially higher prices due to lack of competition.

Are there any examples of countries that are comparatively closed economies?

While no country is a completely closed economy, some countries like North Korea and Cuba have trade policies that heavily restrict international trade. However, even these countries still participate in some international trade.

Related Finance Terms

  • Domestic Production
  • Import Substitution
  • Isolationism
  • Internal Trade
  • Economic Nationalism

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