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Trade Liberalization and Growth: Plant-Level Evidence from Switzerland

  • Bühler, Stefan


  • Helm, Marco


  • Lechner, Michael


This paper estimates the effect of trade liberalization on growth, using plant-level data from Switzerland. We employ a natural experiment framework to quantify the effect of a bundle of treaties liberalizing trade between Switzerland and the EU enacted in June 2002 ("Bilateral Agreements I") on the growth of Swiss plants. Using both a semi-parametric difference-indifferences and a matching approach, we find that the liberalization of trade increased the growth of affected plants by 1-2 percent during the first six years after liberalization. Our results suggest that trade liberalization has a relevant effect on growth.

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Paper provided by University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science in its series Economics Working Paper Series with number 1133.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2011:33
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  1. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Development Working Papers 201, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  2. Revenga, Ana, 1997. "Employment and Wage Effects of Trade Liberalization: The Case of Mexican Manufacturing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S20-43, July.
  3. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2008. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," NBER Working Papers 14610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
  5. Imbens, Guido W. & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2008. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," IZA Discussion Papers 3640, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Martin Huber & Michael Lechner & Conny Wunsch, 2010. "How to control for many covariates? Reliable estimators based on the propensity score," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-30, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  7. Arvind Panagariya, 2000. "Preferential Trade Liberalization: The Traditional Theory and New Developments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 287-331, June.
  8. Stephen Redding, 2010. "Theories of heterogeneous firms and trade," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48908, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Richard Blundell & Mónica Costa Dias, 2008. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," CEF.UP Working Papers 0805, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  10. Lechner, Michael & Miquel, Ruth & Wunsch, Conny, 2004. "Long-Run Effects of Public Sector Sponsored Training in West Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1443, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Natural and Quasi- Experiments in Economics," NBER Technical Working Papers 0170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
  15. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  16. Wacziarg, Romain & Welch, Karen Horn, 2003. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," Research Papers 1826, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  17. Ederington, Josh & McCalman, Phillip, 2008. "Endogenous firm heterogeneity and the dynamics of trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 422-440, March.
  18. Richard E. Baldwin & Rikard Forslid, 2010. "Trade Liberalization with Heterogeneous Firms," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 161-176, 05.
  19. L Alan Winters, 2004. "Trade Liberalisation and Economic Performance: An Overview," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages F4-F21, 02.
  20. Mattoo, Aaditya & Rathindran, Randeep, 2006. "Measuring Services Trade Liberalization and Its Impact on Economic Growth: An Illustration," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 21, pages 64-98.
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