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Free Sky and Clouds of Restrictions


  • Piermartini, Roberta
  • Rousova, Linda


An increasing percentage of trade occurs via air. However, air services are excluded from the WTO Agreement and, as a result, the aviation market is regulated by a plethora of Air Services Agreements. In this paper, we investigate the extent of discrimination -in terms of access to international air services- generated by this system. In particular, using recently available information on Air Services Agreements for 184 countries, we estimate the impact of international air services liberalization on air passenger flows. We find that increasing the degree of liberalization has a positive and significant effect. For instance, the higher degree of air services liberalization among countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) is estimated to account for approximately 30 per cent higher intra-EEA passenger traffic compared with countries that signed Open Skies-type agreements. Our results are robust to the use of several measures of liberalization as well as alternative estimation techniques that address potential problems of endogeneity, heteroscedasticity and data inaccuracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Piermartini, Roberta & Rousova, Linda, 2009. "Free Sky and Clouds of Restrictions," Discussion Papers in Economics 10944, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:10944

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta & Olivier Boylaud, 2000. "Summary Indicators of Product Market Regulation with an Extension to Employment Protection Legislation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 226, OECD Publishing.
    2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    3. Micco, Alejandro & Serebrisky, Tomas, 2006. "Competition regimes and air transport costs: The effects of open skies agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 25-51, September.
    4. David Hummels, 2007. "Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second Era of Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 131-154, Summer.
    5. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
    6. Rauf Gönenç & Giuseppe Nicoletti, 2003. "Regulation, market structure and performance in air passenger transportation," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2001(1), pages 183-227.
    7. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Multiproduct Firms, Product Differentiation, and Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    8. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 2002. "Ethnic Chinese Networks In International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 116-130, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Patricia Sourdin & Richard Pomfret, 2012. "Trade Facilitation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14596.
    2. Surovitskikh, Svetlana & Lubbe, Berendien, 2015. "The Air Liberalisation Index as a tool in measuring the impact of South Africa's aviation policy in Africa on air passenger traffic flows," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 159-166.

    More about this item


    Air Services Agreements; Air services liberalization; Air passenger traffic; Regulatory quality.;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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