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

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  • Rodney D. Ludema

    (Georgetown University)

  • Anna Maria Mayda

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodney D. Ludema & Anna Maria Mayda, 2010. "Do Terms-of-Trade Effects Matter for Trade Agreements? Evidence from WTO Countries," Development Working Papers 293, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:293
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Joanne Gowa & Raymond Hicks, 2012. "The most-favored nation rule in principle and practice: Discrimination in the GATT," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 247-266, September.
    3. Alfaro, Laura & Conconi, Paola & Fadinger, Harald & Newman, Andrew, 2010. "Trade Policy and Firm Boundaries," CEPR Discussion Papers 7899, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2013. "Can the Doha Round Be a Development Round? Setting a Place at the Table," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in an Age of Crisis: Multilateral Economic Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century, pages 91-124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Maggi, Giovanni, 2014. "International Trade Agreements," Handbook of International Economics, in: Gopinath, G. & Helpman, . & Rogoff, K. (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 317-390, Elsevier.
    6. Natos, Dimitrios & Staboulis, Christos & Tsakiridou, Efthimia, 2014. "Agricultural Trade Integration in Western Balkans: Orientation and Complementarity," Agricultural Economics Review, Greek Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 15(2), pages 1-15.
    7. Chen, Bo & Ma, Hong & Xu, Yuan, 2014. "Measuring China’s trade liberalization: A generalized measure of trade restrictiveness index," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 994-1006.

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    JEL classification:

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

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