IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Joining the World Trade Organization: What is the Impact?


  • Christopher Balding


Research has called into question the impact of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on trade. This research, however, has been called into question on both modeling grounds for and failing to utilize comprehensive fixed effects. Others have found that when these factors are accounted for, imports rise by significant amounts. This paper seeks to reconcile these findings. I find that the WTO has a larger, though uneven, impact on exports than imports. The results indicate that the WTO frequently causes imports and exports to move in opposite directions negating any increase in overall trade. The regressions with and without fixed country effects generally demonstrate pattern consistency for generalized results that are robust to change. Owing to the finding that imports rise modestly or even fall without country effects while exports rise, the results imply that countries may not be as interested in liberalizing trade as selling to the world. Copyright © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Balding, 2010. "Joining the World Trade Organization: What is the Impact?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 193-206, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:18:y:2010:i:1:p:193-206

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eichengreen, Barry & Irwin, Douglas A., 1995. "Trade blocs, currency blocs and the reorientation of world trade in the 1930s," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1-2), pages 1-24, February.
    2. Robert W. Staiger & Kyle Bagwell, 1999. "An Economic Theory of GATT," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 215-248, March.
    3. Subramanian, Arvind & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2007. "The WTO promotes trade, strongly but unevenly," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 151-175, May.
    4. Rose, Andrew K., 2004. "Do WTO members have more liberal trade policy?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 209-235, July.
    5. Andrew Rose, 2005. "Which International Institutions Promote International Trade?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 682-698, September.
    6. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    7. Robert C. Feenstra & James R. Markusen & Andrew K. Rose, 2001. "Using the gravity equation to differentiate among alternative theories of trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 430-447, May.
    8. Andrew K. Rose, 2004. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 98-114, March.
    9. Egger, Peter, 2000. "A note on the proper econometric specification of the gravity equation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 25-31, January.
    10. Laszlo Matyas, 1997. "Proper Econometric Specification of the Gravity Model," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 363-368, May.
    11. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-623, June.
    12. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
    13. Anderson, James E, 1998. "Trade Restrictiveness Benchmarks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(449), pages 1111-1125, July.
    14. László Mátyás, 1998. "The Gravity Model: Some Econometric Considerations," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 397-401, May.
    15. Peter Egger, 2002. "An Econometric View on the Estimation of Gravity Models and the Calculation of Trade Potentials," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 297-312, February.
    16. Feenstra, Robert C, 2002. "Border Effects and the Gravity Equation: Consistent Methods for Estimation," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 491-506, December.
    17. repec:umd:umdeco:rodriguez9901 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Vivek Arora & Athanasios Vamvakidis, 2005. "How Much Do Trading Partners Matter for Economic Growth?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(1), pages 24-40, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jason H. Grant & Kathryn A. Boys, 2012. "Agricultural Trade and the GATT/WTO: Does Membership Make a Difference?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(1), pages 1-24.
    2. Mitchell H. Kellman & Yochanan Shachmurove, 2011. "Herfindahl-Hirschman Meets International Trade and Development Theories," Working Papers 50, Department of Applied Econometrics, Warsaw School of Economics.
    3. Aliyev, Khatai, 2014. "Expected Macroeconomic Impacts of the Accession to WTO on Azerbaijan Economy: Empirical Analysis," MPRA Paper 55096, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Florian Mölders & Ulrich Volz, 2011. "Trade creation and the status of FTAs: empirical evidence from East Asia," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 147(3), pages 429-456, September.
    5. Mitchell H. Kellman & Yochanan Shachmurove, 2010. "Adam Smith Meets an Index of Specialization in International Trade," PIER Working Paper Archive 10-029, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    6. Grant, Jason H. & Boys, Kathryn A., 2015. "The GATT/WTO Trade Effect 20 Years Later: A Critical Review and New Insights," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205896, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:18:y:2010:i:1:p:193-206. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.