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Regionalism in standards - good or bad for trade?

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  • Chen, Maggie Xiaoyang
  • Mattoo, Aaditya

Abstract

Regional agreements on standards have been largely ignored by economists and unconditionally blessed by multilateral trade rules. The authors find, theoretically and empirically, that such agreements increase trade between participating countries but not necessarily with the rest of the world. Adopting a common standard in a region-that is, harmonization-boosts exports of excluded industrial countries to the region. But it reduces exports of excluded developing countries, possibly because developing country firms are hurt more by an increase in the stringency of standards and benefit less from economies of scale in integrated markets. Mutual recognition agreements are more uniformly trade promoting unless they contain restrictive rules of origin, in which case intra-regional trade increases at the expense of trade with other, especially developing, countries. The authors propose a modification of international trade rules to strike a better balance between the interests of integrating and excluded countries.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3458.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3458

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Keywords: Labor Policies; Economic Theory&Research; Trade Policy; Environmental Economics&Policies; Health Economics&Finance; Environmental Economics&Policies; TF054105-DONOR FUNDED OPERATION ADMINISTRATION FEE INCOME AND EXPENSE ACCOUNT; Trade and Regional Integration; Economic Theory&Research; Health Economics&Finance;

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  1. Soloaga, Isidro & Winters, L. Alan, 1999. "Regionalism in the Nineties: What Effect on Trade?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2183, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  3. Vella, F., 1989. "A Simple Estimator For Simultaneous Models With Censored Endogenous Regressors," RCER Working Papers 199, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Mattias Ganslandt & James R. Markusen, 2001. "Standards and Related Regulations in International Trade: A Modeling Approach," NBER Working Papers 8346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Baldwin, Richard, 2000. "Regulatory Protectionism, Developing Nations and a Two-Tier World Trade System," CEPR Discussion Papers 2574, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  7. Maskus, Keith E. & Wilson, John S. & Tsunehiro Otsuki, 2000. "Quantifying the impact of technical barriers to trade : a framework for analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2512, The World Bank.
  8. Swann, Peter & Temple, Paul & Shurmer, Mark, 1996. "Standards and Trade Performance: The UK Experience," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1297-1313, September.
  9. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
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