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Do Terms-of-Trade Effects Matter for Trade Agreements? Evidence from WTO Countries

  • Rodney D. Ludema

    ()

    (Georgetown University)

  • Anna Maria Mayda

    (Georgetown University, CEPR and Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano)

In the literature on the economics of international trade institutions, a key question is whether or not terms-of-trade effects drive international trade agreements. Recent empirical work addressing terms-of-trade effects has been restricted to non-WTO countries or accession countries, which differ markedly from existing WTO members and account for only a tiny fraction of world trade. This paper investigates whether MFN tariffs set by existing WTO members in the Uruguay round are consistent with the terms-of-trade hypothesis. We present a model of multilateral trade negotia-tions featuring free riding on MFN that leads the resulting tariff schedule to display terms-of-trade effects. Specifically, the model predicts that the level of the importer’s tariff resulting from negotia-tions should be negatively related to the product of exporter concentration, as measured by a Her-findahl-Hirschman index (sum of squared export shares), and the importer’s market power, as measured by the inverse elasticity of export supply, on a product-by-product basis. We test this hy-pothesis using data on tariffs, trade and production across more than 30 WTO countries and find strong support. We estimate that the internalization of terms of trade effects through WTO negotia-tions has lowered the average tariff of these countries by about 20% compared to its non-cooperative level.

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Paper provided by Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano in its series Development Working Papers with number 293.

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Length: 45
Date of creation: 31 Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:293
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  1. Saggi, Kamal, 2009. "The MFN clause, welfare, and multilateral cooperation between countries of unequal size," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 132-143, January.
  2. Antoni Estevadeordal & Caroline Freund & Emanuel Ornelas, 2008. "Does Regionalism Affect Trade Liberalization Towards Non-Members?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0868, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Andrew K. Rose, 2002. "Do We Really Know that the WTO Increases Trade?," NBER Working Papers 9273, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Rodney Ludema (Georgetown University) and Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University and CEPR), 2005. "Do Countries Free Ride on MFN?," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-13, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks," Papers 163, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  7. Kishore Gawande & Usree Bandyopadhyay, 2000. "Is Protection for Sale? Evidence on the Grossman-Helpman Theory of Endogenous Protection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 139-152, February.
  8. Nicita, Alessandro & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2001. "Trade and production, 1976-99," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2701, The World Bank.
  9. Robert C. Feenstra, 1997. "U.S. Exports, 1972-1994: With State Exports and Other U.S. Data," NBER Working Papers 5990, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Christian Broda & Nuno Limao & David E. Weinstein, 2008. "Optimal Tariffs and Market Power: The Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2032-65, December.
  11. Horn, Henrik & Mavroidis, Petros C, 2001. "Economic and Legal Aspects of the Most Favoured Nation Clause," CEPR Discussion Papers 2859, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Rodney D. Ludema, 1991. "International Trade Bargaining And The Most-Favored-Nation Clause," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(1), pages 1-20, 03.
  13. Christian Broda & Joshua Greenfield & David Weinstein, 2006. "From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimate of Trade and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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