International Institutions and the Volatility of International Trade
During the past half-century, states have established a large number of international trade institutions, both multilateral and regional in scope. The existing literature on this topic emphasizes that these agreements are chiefly designed to liberalize and increase the flow of overseas commerce. Yet such institutions have another function that has been largely ignored by researchers, namely, reducing volatility in trade policy and trade flows. Exposure to global markets increases the vulnerability of a country's output to terms of trade shocks. Governments seek to insulate their economies from such instability through membership in international trade institutions, particularly the World Trade Organization (WTO) and preferential trading arrangements (PTAs). We hypothesize that these institutions reduce the volatility of overseas commerce. We further hypothesize that, because market actors prefer price stability, trade institutions increase the volume of foreign commerce by reducing trade variability. This article conducts the first large-scale, multivariate statistical tests of these two hypotheses, using annual data on exports for all pairs of countries from 1951 through 2001. The tests provide strong support for our arguments. PTAs and the WTO regime significantly reduce export volatility. In so doing, these institutions also increase export levels.
Volume (Year): 62 (2008)
Issue (Month): 04 (October)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK|
Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_INO
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:62:y:2008:i:04:p:621-652_08. 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: (Keith Waters)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.