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Does Africa trade less than it should, and if so, why?: The role of market access and domestic factors


  • Bouet, Antoine
  • Mishra, Santosh
  • Roy, Devesh


"This paper addresses the question of whether Africa is an undertrading continent. We answer this question using a much-improved data set for obtaining predicted trade and by employing methods that correct for bias in estimates of undertrading. Our results indicate that globally Africa is an underexporter in our preferred Heckman specification. This result is robust to the addition of various controls and the application of variants of the gravity model of trade. We also looked for explanations for Africa's undertrading. We found that accounting for transport and communication infrastructure reduced the undertrading effect for Africa, and in some specifications of the gravity model, the under-trading effect vanished altogether. Results from a semiparametric model provided evidence of significant nonlinear impacts from infrastructure, and the effects for a large number of African countries was significant and compared favorably with the marginal effects of infrastructure in countries on other continents and in comparable income brackets. Using this model we also found evidence of complementarity across transport and communication infrastructure, implying that much greater impacts will be likely if the infrastructure are developed jointly rather than in isolation." from Author's Abstract

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  • Bouet, Antoine & Mishra, Santosh & Roy, Devesh, 2008. "Does Africa trade less than it should, and if so, why?: The role of market access and domestic factors," IFPRI discussion papers 770, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:770

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    Cited by:

    1. Mathilde Douillet, 2011. "What are the agricultural exports growth perspectives offered to sub-Saharan countries by current trade negotiations?," EcoMod2011 3116, EcoMod.
    2. Bouet, Antoine & Laborde, David, 2010. "Eight Years of Doha Trade Talks: Where Do We Stand?," eJADE: electronic Journal of Agricultural and Development Economics, Food and Agriculture Organization, Agricultural and Development Economics Division, vol. 11(2).
    3. Roberto Urrunaga & Sara Wong, 2015. "When the total is more than the sum of parts : infrastructure complementarities," Working Papers 15-09, Centro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacífico.
    4. Bouet, Antoine & Laborde Debucquet, David, 2010. "Eight years of Doha trade talks," IFPRI discussion papers 997, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Bouët, Antoine & Cosnard, Lionel & Laborde Debucquet, David, 2017. "Measuring trade integration in Africa," IFPRI discussion papers 1667, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Calì, Massimiliano & te Velde, Dirk Willem, 2011. "Does Aid for Trade Really Improve Trade Performance?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 725-740, May.
    7. Celbis, Mehmet Güney & Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2013. "How big is the impact of infrastructure on trade? Evidence from meta-analysis," MERIT Working Papers 032, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    8. repec:laf:wpaper:201003 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Gravity model; Undertrading; Trade related infrastructure; Market access;

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