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The WTO Promotes Trade, Strongly But Unevenly

  • Arvind Subramanian
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Contrary to the recent literature that concludes that the GATT/WTO has been completely ineffective in promoting world trade, this paper furnishes robust evidence that the institution has had a powerful and positive impact on trade. The impact has, however, been uneven. GATT/WTO membership for industrial countries has been associated with a large increase in imports estimated at about 44 percent of world trade. The same has not been true for developing country members, although those that joined after the Uruguay Round have benefited from increased imports. Similarly, there has been an asymmetric impact between sectors. These results are consistent with the history and design of the institution.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10024.

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Date of creation: Oct 2003
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Publication status: published as Subramanian, Arvind & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2007. "The WTO promotes trade, strongly but unevenly," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 151-175, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10024
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  1. Arvind Subramanian & Shang-Jin Wei, 2003. "The WTO Promotes Trade, Strongly But Unevenly," NBER Working Papers 10024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Aaditya Mattoo & Devesh Roy & Arvind Subramanian, 2003. "The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and its Rules of Origin: Generosity Undermined?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(6), pages 829-851, 06.
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  14. Rose, Andrew K., 2004. "Do WTO members have more liberal trade policy?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 209-235, July.
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  17. Aaditya Mattoo & Arvind Subramanian, 2004. "The WTO and the Poorest Countries; The Stark Reality," IMF Working Papers 04/81, International Monetary Fund.
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  19. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-16, March.
  20. Shang-Jin Wei, 1996. "Intra-National versus International Trade: How Stubborn are Nations in Global Integration?," NBER Working Papers 5531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Wolf, Martin, 1987. "Differential and More Favorable Treatment of Developing Countries and the International Trading System," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 1(4), pages 647-68, September.
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