Economic costs and payoffs of bilateral/regional trade agreements
The rapid increase in the number of bilateral and regional free-trade agreements since 1995 is a striking development. The proliferation of these agreements has raised questions among academicians and policymakers about whether they have, in fact, opened markets, created trade, promoted economic growth, and/or distorted trade. This study uses panel data from the 1975-2005 period and the gravity framework to identify the influence of bilateral/regional free-trade agreements on bilateral trade in merchandise, agriculture, and clothing sectors. A benchmark, Heckman sample-selection, and two generalized models, one of which accounts for reciprocal-free-trade-agreement phase-in effects, are used to gauge the impact on partner trade of mutual as well as asymmetric RTA membership.
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