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Uncertainty and Trade Agreements

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  • Nuno Limão
  • Giovanni Maggi

Abstract

We explore conditions under which trade agreements can provide gains by reducing trade policy uncertainty. Given the degree of income risk aversion, this is more likely when economies are more open, export supply elasticities are lower, and economies more specialized. Governments have stronger incentives to sign trade agreements when the trading environment is more uncertain. As exogenous trade costs decline, the gains from reducing tariff uncertainty become more important relative to reducing average tariff levels. We also develop a simple "sufficient statistic" approach to quantify the gains from managing trade policy uncertainty, and examine the impact of ex ante investments on such gains. (JEL D81, F13)

Suggested Citation

  • Nuno Limão & Giovanni Maggi, 2015. "Uncertainty and Trade Agreements," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 1-42, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:7:y:2015:i:4:p:1-42
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.20130163
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jacks, David S., 2014. "Defying gravity: The Imperial Economic Conference and the reorientation of Canadian trade," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 19-39.
    2. Valeria Groppo & Roberta Piermartini, 2014. "Trade Policy Uncertainty and the WTO," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1437, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Matthew T. Cole & James Lake & Ben Zissimos, 2017. "Contesting an International Trade Agreement," Working Papers 1703, California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics.
    4. Crowley, Meredith & Meng, Ning & Song, Huasheng, 2018. "Tariff scares: Trade policy uncertainty and foreign market entry by Chinese firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 96-115.
    5. Kyle Handley & Nuno Limão, 2013. "Policy Uncertainty, Trade and Welfare: Theory and Evidence for China and the U.S," NBER Working Papers 19376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Meredith A. Crowley & Exton, O. & Han, L., 2018. "Renegotiation of Trade Agreements and Firm Exporting Decisions: Evidence from the Impact of Brexit on UK Exports," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1839, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    7. Federico Esposito, 2016. "Risk Diversification and International Trade," 2016 Meeting Papers 302, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Handley, Kyle, 2014. "Exporting under trade policy uncertainty: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 50-66.
    9. Maggi, Giovanni, 2014. "International Trade Agreements," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier.
    10. Osnago, Alberto & Piermartini, Roberta & Rocha, Nadia, 2015. "Trade policy uncertainty as barrier to trade," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2015-05, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    11. Benjamin Born & Gernot J. Müller & Moritz Schularick & Petr Sedlacek, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of the Brexit Vote," Discussion Papers 1738, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    12. repec:zbw:rwikon:177921 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Elie Appelbaum & Mark Melatos, 2016. "How Can Uncertainty Affect the Choice of Trade Agreements?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(297), pages 153-172, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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