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WTO Membership and the Extensive Margin of World Trade: New Evidence

  • Wilhelm Kohler
  • Gabriel Felbermayr

Recent literature has argued that, contrary to the results of a seminal paper by Rose (2004), WTO membership does promote bilateral trade, at least for developed economies and if membership includes non-formal compliance. We review the literature in order to identify open issues. We then develop the simplest possible “corner-solutions" version of the gravity model which serves as a framework to readdress these issues. We focus on the extensive margin of trade that separates positive-trade from zero-trade country pairs. We argue that the model can be consistently estimated using Poisson pseudo-maximum-likelihood methods with exporter and importer fixed effects. We account for coding issues and the potential heterogeneity of the WTO membership which recent contributions have stressed. While we find that WTO membership increases the likelihood that a given country pair trades, we do not find that the extensive margin has a strong and systematic effect on the average trade-creating potential of the WTO.

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Paper provided by University of Nottingham, GEP in its series Discussion Papers with number 09/06.

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Handle: RePEc:not:notgep:09/06
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  1. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487, 05.
  3. Deardorff, A.V., 1995. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade : Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," Papers 95-05, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  4. Xuepeng Liu, 2009. "GATT/WTO Promotes Trade Strongly: Sample Selection and Model Specification," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(3), pages 428-446, 08.
  5. Theo S. Eicher & Christian Henn, 2009. "In Search of WTO Trade Effects: Preferential Trade Agreements Promote Trade Strongly, But Unevenly," IMF Working Papers 09/31, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Pao-Li Chang & Myoung-Jae Lee, 2007. "The WTO Trade Effect," Working Papers 06-2007, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  7. Schmitt, Nicolas & Yu, Zhihao, 2001. "Economies of scale and the volume of intra-industry trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 127-132, December.
  8. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2008. "The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 37-48, February.
  9. Santos Silva, J.M.C & Tenreyro, Silvana, 2005. "The Log of Gravity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5311, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2004. "The Economics of the World Trading System," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524341, June.
  11. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Kohler, Wilhelm K., 2006. "Exploring the intensive and extensive margins of world trade," Munich Reprints in Economics 20610, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Baltagi, Badi H. & Egger, Peter & Pfaffermayr, Michael, 2003. "A generalized design for bilateral trade flow models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 391-397, September.
  13. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  14. Rose, Andrew K, 2003. "Which International Institutions Promote International Trade?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3764, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. repec:inr:wpaper:21709 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2007. "Do free trade agreements actually increase members' international trade?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 72-95, March.
  17. Subramanian, Arvind & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2005. "The WTO Promotes Trade, Strongly But Unevenly," CEPR Discussion Papers 5122, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Andrew K. Rose, 2004. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 98-114, March.
  19. Ghosh, Sucharita & Yamarik, Steven, 2004. "Are regional trading arrangements trade creating?: An application of extreme bounds analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 369-395, July.
  20. Bogdan Lissovolik & Yaroslav Lissovolik, 2006. "Russia and the WTO: The "Gravity" of Outsider Status," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(1), pages 1.
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  23. Andrew K. Rose, 2007. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade? Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 2019-2025, December.
  24. Michael Tomz & Judith L. Goldstein & Douglas Rivers, 2007. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade? Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 2005-2018, December.
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