IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Product specific technical assistance for exports - has it been effective?


  • Paul Brenton
  • Erik von Uexkull


The international community is placing increasing emphasis on aid for trade to assist low income countries to integrate into the global economy and to address their domestic constraints to export driven growth. There is, however, scant information on the effectiveness of previous support for export development to inform the design of new initiatives. In this paper, we exploit information on product specific technical assistance for trade and estimate a simple partial equilibrium model to assess the impact on the key measurable outcome - exports of the product subject to assistance. We apply a difference in differences approach to isolate the impact of the policy interventions and draw four main conclusions: on average, export development (ED) programs have coincided with or predated stronger export performance; such programs appear to be more effective where there is already significant export activity; there is some concern about the additionality of the programs and that support may be being channeled to sectors that would have prospered anyway; ultimately, conclusions strongly depend on what one postulates would have happened in the absence of the policy intervention, so the definition of a credible counterfactual is of utmost importance for the evaluation of technical assistance for exports.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Brenton & Erik von Uexkull, 2009. "Product specific technical assistance for exports - has it been effective?," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 235-254.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:18:y:2009:i:2:p:235-254 DOI: 10.1080/09638190902916444

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    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. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, June.
    2. Romain Wacziarg & Karen Horn Welch, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 187-231, June.
    3. Charles I. Jones, 1995. "Time Series Tests of Endogenous Growth Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 495-525.
    4. Kochhar, Kalpana & Kumar, Utsav & Rajan, Raghuram & Subramanian, Arvind & Tokatlidis, Ioannis, 2006. "India's pattern of development: What happened, what follows?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 981-1019, July.
    5. Philippe Aghion & Robin Burgess & Stephen Redding & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "Entry Liberalization and Inequality in Industrial Performance," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 291-302, 04/05.
    6. repec:rus:hseeco:121595 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
    8. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
    9. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Pro-competitive effects of trade reform : Results from a CGE model of Cameroon," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 1157-1184, July.
    10. Robert E. Baldwin, 2004. "Openness and Growth: What's the Empirical Relationship?," NBER Chapters,in: Challenges to Globalization: Analyzing the Economics, pages 499-526 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Irwin, Douglas A. & Tervio, Marko, 2002. "Does trade raise income?: Evidence from the twentieth century," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-18, October.
    12. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    13. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    14. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
    15. Rana Hasan & Devashish Mitra & K.V. Ramaswamy, 2007. "Trade Reforms, Labor Regulations, and Labor-Demand Elasticities: Empirical Evidence from India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 466-481, August.
    16. Kaivan Munshi & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2005. "Why is Mobility in India so Low? Social Insurance, Inequality, and Growth," CID Working Papers 121, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    17. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    18. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 2001. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 261-338 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Krishna, Pravin & Mitra, Devashish, 1998. "Trade liberalization, market discipline and productivity growth: new evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 447-462, August.
    21. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to Cross-National Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. Matthias Helble & Catherine Mann & John Wilson, 2012. "Aid-for-trade facilitation," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 148(2), pages 357-376, June.
    2. Frederick Mayer & William Milberg, 2013. "Aid for Trade in a world of global value chains: chain power, the distribution of rents and implications for the form of aid," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2013-34, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    3. Paul Brenton & Christian Saborowski & Erik von Uexkull, 2010. "What Explains the Low Survival Rate of Developing Country Export Flows?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(3), pages 474-499, December.
    4. Jaud, Melise & Cadot, Olivier, 2012. "A second look at the pesticides initiative program: evidence from Senegal," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 490-506, July.
    5. Olivier Cadot & Ana Fernandes & Julien Gourdon & Aaditya Mattoo & Jaime Melo, 2014. "Evaluating Aid for Trade: A Survey of Recent Studies," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 516-529, April.
    6. Esteban Ferro & Alberto Portugal-Perez & John S. Wilson, 2014. "Aid to the Services Sector: Does it Affect Manufacturing Exports?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 530-541, April.
    7. Cadot, Olivier & Fernandes, Ana & Gourdon, Julien & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2011. "Impact Evaluation of Trade Interventions: Paving the Way," CEPR Discussion Papers 8638, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Philipp Hühne & Birgit Meyer & Peter Nunnenkamp, 2014. "Who Benefits from Aid for Trade? Comparing the Effects on Recipient versus Donor Exports," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(9), pages 1275-1288, September.
    9. Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann & Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso & Dierk Herzer & Stephan Klasen & Adriana Cardozo, 2013. "Does foreign aid promote recipient exports to donor countries?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 149(3), pages 505-535, September.
    10. United Nations ESCAP (ed.), 2011. "Trade beyond Doha: Prospects for Asia-Pacific Least Developed Countries, Studies in Trade and Investment 76," STUDIES IN TRADE AND INVESTMENT, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), number tipub2625, january-d.
    11. Matthias Busse & Ruth Hoekstra & Jens Königer, 2012. "The Impact of Aid for Trade Facilitation on the Costs of Trading," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 143-163, May.
    12. Hoekman, Bernard & Wilson, John S., 2010. "Aid for trade : building on progress today for tomorrow's future," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5361, The World Bank.
    13. Jaime DE MELO & Laurent WAGNER, 2015. "Aid For Trade as finance for the Poor," Working Papers P125, FERDI.
    14. Hühne, Philipp & Meyer, Birgit & Nunnenkamp, Peter, 2014. "Aid for trade: Assessing the effects on recipient exports of manufactures and primary commodities to donors and non-donors," Kiel Working Papers 1953, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    15. Calì, Massimiliano & te Velde, Dirk Willem, 2011. "Does Aid for Trade Really Improve Trade Performance?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 725-740, May.
    16. Bernard Hoekman, 2011. "Aid for Trade: Why, what and where are we?," STUDIES IN TRADE AND INVESTMENT, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).


    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:taf:jitecd:v:18:y:2009:i:2:p:235-254. 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: (Chris Longhurst). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.