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Preferential Trade Liberalization and the Path-Dependent Expansion of Exports

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  • Ingo Borchert

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Abstract

In the presence of sunk costs to exporting, preferential tariff liberalization may have a prolonged, dynamic effect on the pattern of a beneficiary country's exports. In particular, preferential tariff liberalization might trigger a geographic spread of exports to third markets outside the preferential trading area. I test this hypothesis for the pattern of Mexican exports after the inception of NAFTA to several Latin American trading partners. After controlling for product specific shocks and the overall trend in export growth, the evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that initial exports to the United States further prompted exports to third markets. The results suggest a significant impact on exports to large or geographically proximate countries (Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama). The stunning growth in the extensive margin as a count measure owes much to rather simple goods, while more sophisticated goods exert a substantial impact on the value of Mexican exports. The findings also document the existence of considerable tariff-induced trade diversion for goods with little skill or technology content.

Suggested Citation

  • Ingo Borchert, 2007. "Preferential Trade Liberalization and the Path-Dependent Expansion of Exports," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-06, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2007:2007-06
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    File URL: http://ux-tauri.unisg.ch/RePEc/usg/dp2007/DP-06-Bor.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting Trade: Firms, Industries, and Export Destinations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 150-154, May.
    2. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947.
    3. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-177, March.
    4. Romer, Paul, 1994. "New goods, old theory, and the welfare costs of trade restrictions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 5-38, February.
    5. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2004. "Why Some Firms Export," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 561-569, May.
    6. Andrew Bernard & Joachim Wagner, 2001. "Export entry and exit by German firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 137(1), pages 105-123, March.
    7. Sanjaya Lall, 2000. "The Technological Structure and Performance of Developing Country Manufactured Exports, 1985-98," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 337-369.
    8. David Hummels & Peter J. Klenow, 2005. "The Variety and Quality of a Nation's Exports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 704-723, June.
    9. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-564, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cusolito, Ana Paula & Hollweg, Claire H., 2013. "Trade policy barriers: an obstacle to export diversification in Eurasia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6434, The World Bank.
    2. Ana Paula Cusolito & Claire H. Hollweg, 2015. "Trade Policy Barriers: An Obstacle to Export Diversification in Eurasia," Journal of Banking and Financial Economics, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 2(4), pages 91-129, June.
    3. Lili Wang & Yong Zhao, 2013. "Does Experience Facilitate Entry into New Export Destinations?," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 21(5), pages 36-59, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preferential tariffs; Mexico; NAFTA; sunk costs; conditional logit panel estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • K33 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - International Law

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