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Weak Governments and Trade Agreements

  • Arcand, Jean-Louis
  • Olarreaga, Marcelo
  • Zoratto, Laura

The recent theoretical literature on the determinants of trade agreements has stressed the importance of political gains, such as credibility, as a rationale for trade agreements. The empirical literature, however, has lagged behind in the estimation of the economic gains or losses associated with these politically motivated trade agreements. This paper fills that gap by providing estimates of the economic impact of politically and economically motivated trade agreements. We find that credibility gains play a role in increasing the probability of two countries signing an agreement. Moreover, agreements with a stronger political motivation are more trade creating than agreements that are signed for pure market access / economic reasons, and the value for the government of solving its time inconsistency problems through trade agreements is estimated at an average of 1.8% of GDP, which compares quite well with the traditional estimates of the economic gains from trade.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8595.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8595
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  1. Kishore Gawande & Pravin Krishna & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2009. "What Governments Maximize and Why: The View from Trade," NBER Working Papers 14953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Céline CARRERE, 2003. "Revisiting the Effects of Regional Trading Agreements on trade flows with Proper Specification of the Gravity Model," Working Papers 200310, CERDI.
  3. Xuepeng Liu & Emanuel Ornelas, 2013. "Free Trade Aggreements and the Consolidation of Democracy," CEP Discussion Papers dp1184, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Hiau LooiKee & Alessandro Nicita & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2009. "Estimating Trade Restrictiveness Indices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 172-199, 01.
  5. Emanuel Ornelas, 2005. "Rent Destruction and the Political Viability of Free Trade Agreements," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1475-1506, November.
  6. Peter Egger & Mario Larch & Kevin E. Staub & Rainer Winkelmann, 2010. "The Trade Effects of Endogenous Preferential Trade Agreements," SOI - Working Papers 1013, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  7. Nuno Limão & Patricia Tovar, 2009. "Policy Choice: Theory and Evidence from Commitment via International Trade Agreements," NBER Working Papers 14655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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