Regional Trading Arrangements: Natural or Super-Natural?
AbstractThis paper summarizes recent research by the authors on the effects of free trade areas (FTAs). Within our model, which emphasizes inter-continental transport costs, several conclusions arise. (1) FTAs are likely to be detrimental over a moderate range of parameter values, even if drawn along natural regional lines. (2) A small margin of preferences for neighbors is beneficial. (3) Optimal preferences depend on the parameters, particularly on transport costs. (4) If preferences are raised further, they enter the zone of negative returns to regionalization, and eventually the super-natural zone, where welfare is lower than under the MFN status quo. Estimates from the gravity model suggest the world system may already be in the super-natural zone. The core model leaves out many factors. But we have pursued a variety of extensions by now. Perhaps the two most important are generalizing the highly stylized model of trade (to include factor endowments), and relaxing the assumption that the inter-bloc level of tariffs remains fixed. In the latter case, allowing tariffs to be endogenous yields a much more optimistic outlook for the effects of FTAs.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of California at Berkeley in its series Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers with number C96-059.
Date of creation: 01 Jan 1996
Date of revision:
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Other versions of this item:
- Frankel, Jeffrey A & Stein, Ernesto & Wei, Shang-Jin, 1996. "Regional Trading Arrangements: Natural or Supernatural," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 52-56, May.
- Jeffrey A. Frankel & Ernesto Stein & Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Regional Trading Arrangement: Natural or Super-Natural?," NBER Working Papers 5431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- F1 - International Economics - - Trade
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Shang-Jin Wei & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1995.
"Open Regionalism in a World of Continental Trade Blocs,"
NBER Working Papers
5272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Shang-Jin Wei & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1998. "Open Regionalism in a World of Continental Trade Blocs," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(3), pages 440-453, September.
- Jeffrey A. Frankel & Shang-Jin Wei, 1998. "Open Regionalism in a World of Continental Trade Blocs," IMF Working Papers 98/10, International Monetary Fund.
- Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1998. "The Regionalization of the World Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fran98-1.
- Antonio Spilimbergo & Ernesto Stein, 1998.
"The Welfare Implications of Trading Blocs among Countries with Different Endowments,"
in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 121-152
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Antonio Spilimbergo & Ernesto Stein, 1996. "The Welfare Implications of Trading Blocs among Countries with Different Endowments," NBER Working Papers 5472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:fth:inadeb:323 is not listed on IDEAS
- Frankel, Jeffrey & Stein, Ernesto & Wei, Shang-jin, 1995. "Trading blocs and the Americas: The natural, the unnatural, and the super-natural," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-95, June.
- repec:idb:brikps:6860 is not listed on IDEAS
- Wonnacott, Paul & Wonnacott, Ronald, 1981. "Is Unilateral Tariff Reduction Preferable to a Customs Union? The Curious Case of the Missing Foreign Tariffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 704-14, September.
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