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Weak Governments and Trade Agreements

Author

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Arcand, Jean-Louis & Olarreaga, Marcelo & Zoratto, Laura, 2011. "Weak Governments and Trade Agreements," CEPR Discussion Papers 8595, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8595
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. 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, 2014. "Free Trade Agreements and the Consolidation of Democracy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 29-70, April.
    4. Limão, Nuno & Tovar, Patricia, 2011. "Policy choice: Theory and evidence from commitment via international trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 186-205.
    5. Gawande, Kishore & Krishna, Pravin & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2009. "What Governments Maximize and Why: The View from Trade," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(03), pages 491-532, July.
    6. Peter Egger & Mario Larch & Kevin E. Staub & Rainer Winkelmann, 2011. "The Trade Effects of Endogenous Preferential Trade Agreements," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 113-143, August.
    7. Emanuel Ornelas, 2005. "Rent Destruction and the Political Viability of Free Trade Agreements," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1475-1506.
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    Cited by:

    1. Egger Peter & Wamser Georg, 2013. "Effects of the Endogenous Scope of Preferentialism on International Goods Trade," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 709-731, July.
    2. Dick Nuwamanya Kamuganga, 2012. "The Linkage between Outcome Differences in Cotton Production and Rural Roads Improvements - A Matching Approach," IHEID Working Papers 15-2012, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    3. Samuel Standaert & Glenn Rayp, 2016. "Multilateral trade agreements in Africa," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 11-45, February.
    4. Egger, Peter & Larch, Mario & Staub, Kevin E, 2012. "Trade Preferences and Bilateral Trade in Goods and Services: A Structural Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 9051, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credibility; Political economy; Trade agreements;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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