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State Control and the Effects of Foreign Relations on Bilateral Trade

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  • Davis, Christina
  • Fuchs, Andreas
  • Johnson , Kristina

Abstract

Do states use trade to reward and punish partners? WTO rules and the pressures of globalization restrict states’ capacity to manipulate trade policies, but we argue that governments can link political goals with economic outcomes using less direct avenues of influence over firm behavior. Where governments intervene in markets, politicization of trade is likely to occur. In this paper, we examine one important form of government control: state ownership of firms. Taking China and India as examples, we use bilateral trade data by firm ownership type, as well as measures of bilateral political relations based on diplomatic events and UN voting to estimate the effect of political relations on import and export flows. Our results support the hypothesis that imports controlled by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) exhibit stronger responsiveness to political relations than imports controlled by private enterprises. A more nuanced picture emerges for exports; while India’s exports through SOEs are more responsive to political tensions than its flows through private entities, the opposite is true for China. This research holds broader implications for how we should think about the relationship between political and economic relations going forward, especially as a number of countries with partially state-controlled economies gain strength in the global economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Davis, Christina & Fuchs, Andreas & Johnson , Kristina, 2014. "State Control and the Effects of Foreign Relations on Bilateral Trade," Working Papers 0576, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0576
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hinz, Julian & Leromain, Elsa, 2017. "Critically important: The heterogeneous effect of politics on trade," Kiel Working Papers 2092, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. Dreher, Axel & Fuchs, Andreas & Parks, Bradley & Strange, Austin M. & Tierney, Michael J., 2016. "Apples and Dragon Fruits: The Determinants of Aid and Other Forms of State Financing from China to Africa," Working Papers 0620, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    3. repec:bla:worlde:v:40:y:2017:i:9:p:1958-1988 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Sophie Meunier, 2014. "A Faustian bargain or just a good bargain? Chinese foreign direct investment and politics in Europe," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 143-158, March.
    5. Roberto CARDINALE, 2017. "The Political-Economy Implications of the Transition from State-Owned to Mixed-Owned Enterprises: Evidence from the European Gas Sector," Departmental Working Papers 2017-10, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    6. repec:eee:inecon:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:211-225 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Abdessalem Abassi & Lota Dabio Tamini, 2016. "Trade performance and potential of North African countries: An application of a stochastic frontier gravity model," Cahiers de recherche CREATE 2016-4, CREATE.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy

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