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Trade and Investment under Policy Uncertainty: Theory and Firm Evidence

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  • Kyle Handley
  • Nuno Limão

Abstract

In a dynamic model with sunk export costs, a firm's export investment is lower under trade policy uncertainty, and credible preferential trade agreements (PTAs) increase trade even if current tariffs are low. Exploring Portugal's accession to the European Community as a policy uncertainty shock we find that the trade reform accounted for a large fraction of Portuguese exporting firms' entry and sales; the accession removed uncertainty about future EC trade policies; and this uncertainty channel accounted for a large fraction of the predicted growth. Our approach can be applied to other PTAs and sources of policy uncertainty. (JEL D22, F12, F14, F15, G31, L11)

Suggested Citation

  • Kyle Handley & Nuno Limão, 2015. "Trade and Investment under Policy Uncertainty: Theory and Firm Evidence," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 189-222, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:7:y:2015:i:4:p:189-222
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20140068
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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