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Estimating Trade Restrictiveness Indices


  • Hiau LooiKee
  • Alessandro Nicita
  • Marcelo Olarreaga


Studies of the impact of trade restrictiveness on growth, poverty or unemployment are frequent in the academic literature. Few authors, however, provide a precise definition of what they mean by trade restrictiveness. When they do, the definition is unlikely to have tight links with trade theory. The objective of this article is to fill this gap by providing for 78 developing and developed countries clearly defined indicators of trade restrictiveness that are well grounded in trade theory. Results suggest that poor countries tend to have more restrictive trade policies but they also face higher trade barriers on their exports. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Hiau LooiKee & Alessandro Nicita & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2009. "Estimating Trade Restrictiveness Indices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 172-199, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:534:p:172-199

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James E. Anderson & J. Peter Neary, 1996. "A New Approach to Evaluating Trade Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 107-125.
    2. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1994. "Measuring the Restrictiveness of Trade Policy," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(2), pages 151-169, May.
    3. Scott Bradford, 2003. "Paying the Price: Final Goods Protection in OECD Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 24-37, February.
    4. Julio.J. Nogués & Andrzej Olechowski & L. Alan Winters, 2015. "The Extent of Nontariff Barriers to Industrial Countries' Imports," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Non-Tariff Barriers, Regionalism and Poverty Essays in Applied International Trade Analysis, chapter 2, pages 29-47 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Harrigan, James, 1997. "Technology, Factor Supplies, and International Specialization: Estimating the Neoclassical Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 475-494, September.
    6. Feenstra, Robert C., 1995. "Estimating the effects of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1553-1595 Elsevier.
    7. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1992. "Trade Reform with Quotas, Partial Rent Retention, and Tariffs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 57-76, January.
    8. Hiau Looi Kee & Alessandro Nicita & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2008. "Import Demand Elasticities and Trade Distortions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 666-682, November.
    9. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "Trade Liberalization and the Theory of Endogenous Protection: An Econometric Study of U.S. Import Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 138-160, February.
    10. Anderson, James E, 1998. "Trade Restrictiveness Benchmarks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(449), pages 1111-1125, July.
    11. James E. Anderson & J. Peter Neary, 2003. "The Mercantilist Index of Trade Policy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 627-649, May.
    12. Jong-Wha Lee & Phillip Swagel, 2000. "Trade Barriers And Trade Flows Across Countries And Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 372-382, August.
    13. Anderson, James E & Bannister, Geoffrey J & Neary, J Peter, 1995. "Domestic Distortions and International Trade," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(1), pages 139-157, February.
    14. Anderson, James E. & Neary, J. Peter, 2007. "Welfare versus market access: The implications of tariff structure for tariff reform," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 187-205, March.
    15. Qing Wang, 2001. "Import-Reducing Effect of Trade Barriers; A Cross-Country Investigation," IMF Working Papers 01/216, International Monetary Fund.
    16. Edward E. Leamer, 1986. "Cross Section Estimation of the Effects of Trade Barriers," UCLA Economics Working Papers 417, UCLA Department of Economics.
    17. Andriamananjara, Soamiely & Dean, Judith M. & Feinberg, Robert & Ferrantino, Michael J. & Ludema, Rodney & Tsigas, Marinos E., 2004. "The Effects of Non-Tariff Measures on Prices, Trade, and Welfare: CGE Implementation of Policy-Based Price Comparisons," Working Papers 15863, United States International Trade Commission, Office of Economics.
    18. Bernard Hoekman & Francis Ng & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2004. "Agricultural Tariffs or Subsidies: Which Are More Important for Developing Economies?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 18(2), pages 175-204.
    19. Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 1997. "Measurement of Non-Tariff Barriers," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 179, OECD Publishing.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations


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