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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. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jenson & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
  4. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M. & Imbens, Guido, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Scholarly Articles 3043416, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Miquel, Ruth & Lechner, Michael & Wunsch, Conny, 2005. "Long-Run Effects of Public Sector Sponsored Training in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-02, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  6. 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.
  7. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
  10. 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.
  11. Baldwin, Richard & Forslid, Rikard, 2004. "Trade Liberalization with Heterogenous Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4635, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Romain Wacziarg & Karen Horn Welch, 2003. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10152, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Natural and Quasi- Experiments in Economics," NBER Technical Working Papers 0170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, 09.
  15. Guido W. Imbens, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Exogeneity: A Review," NBER Technical Working Papers 0294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Huber, Martin & Lechner, Michael & Wunsch, Conny, 2010. "How to Control for Many Covariates? Reliable Estimators Based on the Propensity Score," IZA Discussion Papers 5268, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  18. 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.
  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. 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.
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