IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Legal Costs as Barriers to Trade

  • Turrini, Alessandro Antonio
  • van Ypersele, Tanguy

Recent evidence shows that the 'home bias puzzle' in international trade may be associated with the mere presence of national borders (McCallum (1995)). In this paper we provide a theoretical framework to explain why borders may matter so much for trade. Our argument is that even between perfectly integrated and similar countries the legal system differs, so that legal costs are higher when business is done abroad. Using a matching model of trade, we show that legal costs asymmetry produce home bias in an essentially different way than traditional trade costs. To estimate the relevance of legal costs in displacing trade we estimate gravity equations augmented with variables capturing the extent of legal asymmetries. Evidence from inter-national trade across OECD countries and intra-national trade across French support the view that legal asymmetries act as relevant obstacles to trade.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5751.

in new window

Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5751
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.

Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Goverment," NBER Working Papers 6727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Chen, Natalie, 2002. "Intra-national versus International Trade in the European Union: Why do National Borders Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3407, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Casella, Alessandra, 1996. "On market integration and the development of institutions: The case of international commercial arbitration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 155-186, January.
  4. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Trade and Search: Social Capital, Sogo Shosha, and Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 5618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. James E. Anderson & Douglas Marcouiller, 1999. "Trade, Insecurity, and Home Bias: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Casella, Alessandra, 1992. "Arbitration in International Trade," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers 233173, University of California-Berkeley, Department of Economics.
  8. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Networks versus Markets in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 5617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Lafourcade, Miren & Mayer, Thierry, 2005. "The trade-creating effects of business and social networks: evidence from France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-29, May.
  10. Stephen Redding & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "Economic Geography and International Inequality," International Trade 0103003, EconWPA.
  11. Harrigan, James, 1996. "Openness to trade in manufactures in the OECD," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 23-39, February.
  12. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Do National Borders Matter for Quebec's Trade?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 507-22, August.
  13. Andrew K. Rose & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "National Money as a Barrier to International Trade: The Real Case for Currency Union," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 386-390, May.
  14. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2000. "Non-Europe : The Magnitude and Causes of Market Fragmentation in the EU," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00267441, HAL.
  15. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1999. "Unemployment vs. Mismatch of Talents: Reconsidering Unemployment Benefits," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 266-91, April.
  16. Helliwell, John F, 2002. "Measuring the Width of National Boarders," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 517-24, August.
  17. Feenstra, Robert C, 2002. "Border Effects and the Gravity Equation: Consistent Methods for Estimation," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 491-506, December.
  18. Evenett, S. J. & Keller, W., 1994. "On Theories Explaining the Success of the Gravity Equation," Working papers 9713, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  19. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
  20. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  21. Volker Nitsch, 2000. "National borders and international trade: evidence from the European Union," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1091-1105, November.
  22. Dani Rodrik, 2000. "How Far Will International Economic Integration Go?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 177-186, Winter.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5751. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.