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GATT/WTO membership does promote international trade after all – Some new empirical evidence

Author

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  • Konya, Laszlo
  • Matyas, Laszlo
  • Harris, Mark

Abstract

The declared objective of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) is to promote free trade between member states. Nonetheless, an exhaustive study of bilateral merchandise trade based on a large panel data set led Rose (2004) to conclude that there is no compelling empirical evidence to show that GATT/WTO membership does actually encourage international trade. This unanticipated finding generated a great deal of attention in the literature and several scholars put forward various explanations for it. In this paper we set up a new international trade data set which, unlike Rose’s, allows us to model exports and imports separately and to study the extensive margin of trade, i.e., the number of bilateral trade relationships. Using this data set and a gravity framework, first we demonstrate how to obtain puzzling negative results and so explain the previous unintuitive findings. Then we show that GATT/WTO membership does indeed encourage international trade, so the most obvious reason for Rose’s negative outcome is the lack of zero bilateral trade observations in his data set.

Suggested Citation

  • Konya, Laszlo & Matyas, Laszlo & Harris, Mark, 2011. "GATT/WTO membership does promote international trade after all – Some new empirical evidence," MPRA Paper 34978, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 20 Nov 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34978
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/34978/1/MPRA_paper_34978.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gabriel J Felbermayr & Wilhelm Kohler, 2014. "Exploring the Intensive and Extensive Margins of World Trade," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: European Economic Integration, WTO Membership, Immigration and Offshoring, chapter 4, pages 115-148 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    5. 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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    7. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Juyoung Cheong & Do Won Kwak & Kam Ki Tang, 2013. "WTO Trade Effects and Identification Problems: Why Knowing The Structural Properties of WTO Memberships Matters?," Discussion Papers Series 491, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    2. Aliyev, Khatai, 2014. "Expected Macroeconomic Impacts of the Accession to WTO on Azerbaijan Economy: Empirical Analysis," MPRA Paper 55096, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Juyoung Cheong & Do Won Kwak & Kam Ki Tang, 2014. "A Within Estimator for Three-Level Data: An Application to the WTO Effect on Trade Flows," Discussion Papers Series 501, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    GATT/WTO; international trade; gravity model; multidimensional panel data;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C24 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models; Threshold Regression Models
    • F49 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Other

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