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Trade Policy Uncertainty and the WTO

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  • Valeria Groppo
  • Roberta Piermartini

Abstract

Do WTO commitments reduce the risk of trade policy reversals? To address this question, we rely on the theoretical model of varying cooperative tariffs by Bagwell and Staiger (1990) to specify our empirical model for the probability of a tariff increase. We then study how WTO tariff commitments affect this probability. We estimate our model using a database of WTO bound tariffs that we built for all WTO Members from 1996 to 2011 at the HS 6-digit level of disaggregation. Our results show that WTO commitments significantly reduce the probability of a tariff increase, even when the bound tariff is above the MFN applied rate. In addition, the WTO reduces trade policy uncertainty through its monitoring function. These results are robust to including political economy explanations of tariff changes and to addressing endogeneity concerns.

Suggested Citation

  • Valeria Groppo & Roberta Piermartini, 2014. "Trade Policy Uncertainty and the WTO," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1437, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1437
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Csilla, Lakatos & Lars, Nilsson, 2015. "The EU-Korea free trade agreement: Anticipation, trade policy uncertainty and impact," DG TRADE Chief Economist Notes 2015-2, Directorate General for Trade, European Commission.
    2. Csilla Lakatos & Lars Nilsson, 2017. "The EU-Korea FTA: anticipation, trade policy uncertainty and impact," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 153(1), pages 179-198, February.
    3. Emanuel Ornelas, 2016. "Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 5823, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Osnago, Alberto & Piermartini, Roberta & Rocha, Nadia, 2015. "Trade policy uncertainty as barrier to trade," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2015-05, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    5. Jakubik, Adam & Piermartini, Roberta, 2019. "How WTO commitments tame uncertainty," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2019-06, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    6. James Lake & Maia K. Linask, 2015. "Domestic political competition and binding overhang in developing countries," Departmental Working Papers 1503, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    7. repec:eee:inecon:v:115:y:2018:i:c:p:259-276 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Lake, James & Linask, Maia K., 2016. "Could tariffs be pro-cyclical?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 124-146.
    9. Nuno Limão, 2016. "Preferential Trade Agreements," NBER Working Papers 22138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gains from trade agreements; commitments; tariffs formation; binding overhang;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F5 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy

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