IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Trade Restrictiveness Benchmarks


  • James Anderson

    () (Boston College)


This paper provides benchmarks of trade restrictiveness and year- on-year changes in trade restrictiveness using the Trade Restrictiveness Index. These benchmark measures stand in sharp contrast to standard measures. For a 28 country sample the TRI is used to compare trade policy in a recent year with free trade. Trade weighted average tariffs substantially underestimate restrictiveness measured by the 'uniform tariff equivalent' (the inverse of the TRI minus one), with the degree of underestimate positively correlated with the dispersion of the tariff structure. The rank correlation of the 'uniform tariff equivalent' and the average tariff in the sample is high, but the error implied by using the average tariff instead of the uniform tariff equivalent is substantial and variable. For a 7 case sample, year-on-year recent changes in trade policy are evaluated with the TRI and with standard measures. Here, the correlation of the TRI and changes in the standard measures is close to zero, essentially because tariff means and variances often do not move together. These conclusions appear to be robust with respect to missing data problems. The magnitude of the TRI is not very sensitive to elasticity of substitution variation, but is sensitive to the assumptions used to treat NTBs.

Suggested Citation

  • James Anderson, 1995. "Trade Restrictiveness Benchmarks," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 290., Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:290

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1994. "The Trade Restrictiveness of the Multi-fibre Arrangement," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(2), pages 171-189, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Edwards, Sebastian, 1993. "Openness, Trade Liberalization, and Growth in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1358-1393, September.
    5. J. P. Neary (ed.), 1995. "International Trade," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 575.
    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. Hiau LooiKee & Alessandro Nicita & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2009. "Estimating Trade Restrictiveness Indices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 172-199, January.
    2. J Fedderke & P Vaze, 2001. "THE NATURE OF SOUTH AFRICA'S TRADE PATTERNS BY ECONOMIC SECTOR, AND THE EXTENT OF TRADE LIBERALIZATION DURING THE COURSE OF THE 1990′s," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 69(3), pages 436-478, September.
    3. Krishna, Kala, 2009. "Background Paper on the IMF's Trade Restrictiveness Index," MPRA Paper 21316, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Gouel, Christophe & Mitaritonna, Cristina & Ramos, Maria Priscila, 2011. "Sensitive products in the Doha negotiations: The case of European and Japanese market access," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 2395-2403.
    7. Anderson, Kym & Kurzweil, Marianne & Martin, William J. & Sandri, Damiano & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2008. "Methodology for Measuring Distortions to Agricultural Incentives," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48326, World Bank.
    8. Lloyd, P. J. & MacLaren, D., 2002. "Measures of trade openness using CGE analysis," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 67-81, March.
    9. Christopher Balding, 2010. "Joining the World Trade Organization: What is the Impact?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 193-206, February.
    10. Michael A. Clemens & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2002. "Closed Jaguar, Open Dragon: Comparing Tariffs in Latin America and Asia before World War II," NBER Working Papers 9401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Michael A. Clemens & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "A Tariff-Growth Paradox? Protection's Impact the World Around 1875-1997," NBER Working Papers 8459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Chernyshoff, Natalia & Jacks, David S. & Taylor, Alan M., 2009. "Stuck on gold: Real exchange rate volatility and the rise and fall of the gold standard, 1875-1939," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 195-205, April.
    13. Narayanan, Badri G. & Hertel, Thomas W. & Horridge, J. Mark, 2010. "Disaggregated data and trade policy analysis: The value of linking partial and general equilibrium models," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 755-766, May.
    14. Edwards, Lawrence & Lawrence, Robert, 2008. "SACU tariff policies: Where should they go from here?," MPRA Paper 32865, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Anderson, James E., 1998. "The Uruguay Round and welfare in some distorted agricultural economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 393-410, August.
    16. Cletus C. Coughlin, 2010. "Measuring international trade policy: a primer on trade restrictiveness indices," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 381-394.
    17. Sami Dakhlia & John Nye, 2004. "Tax Britannica: Nineteenth Century Tariffs and British National Income," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(3), pages 309-333, February.
    18. Bown, Chad P., 2004. "Trade disputes and the implementation of protection under the GATT: an empirical assessment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 263-294, March.
    19. Carolyn L. Evans, 2001. "Home bias in trade: location or foreign-ness?," Staff Reports 128, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    20. Tena Junguito, Antonio, 2001. "Measuring protection over time : revenue and protective products in the 19th century European tariff growth debate," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wh017204, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    21. Narayanan, Badri & Thomas Hertel & Mark Horridge, 2010. "Linking Partial and General Equilibrium Models: A GTAP Application Using TASTE," GTAP Technical Papers 3192, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.

    More about this item


    index numbers; protection; quotas; CGE models;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations


    Access and download statistics


    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:boc:bocoec:290. 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: (Christopher F Baum). 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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 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.