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Democracy and international trade: Differential effects from a panel quantile regression framework

Listed author(s):
  • Abeliansky, Ana
  • Krenz, Astrid
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    There has been a wide debate on whether democracy actually has an effect on economic outcomes, and especially on international trade. With a new estimation strategy, we analyze this relationship taking a look at the distribution of countries´ trading activity. Using a panel quantile estimation framework from Powell (2014), we find a stronger relationship at the lower quantiles, especially for the import activity. Our results suggest that the impact of democratization on trade is more important when countries trade less: the marginal benefit of democratization decreases as countries trade more. This feature supports a widely neglected issue in the literature: economies very active in the international trading network are not necessarily the most democratic countries. The results are robust to different institutional variables and even to instrumental variables estimation. Our results demonstrate that the effect of democracy on trade is underestimated using Ordinary Least Squares estimation for the group of countries for which the effect is statistically significant for, namely those countries that are active in the lower quantiles of the trading distribution. Moreover, our results complement the findings by Barro (1996) which suggest that the effects of democracy for economic growth are not uniform for all countries.

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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/109964/1/823906922.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Goettingen, Department of Economics in its series Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers with number 243.

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    Date of creation: 2015
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:243
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    Web page: http://www.cege.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/

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    1. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 569-600.
    2. Balding, Christopher, 2011. "A Re-examination of the Relation between Democracy and International Trade The Case of Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 059, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Paola Giuliano & Prachi Mishra & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2013. "Democracy and Reforms: Evidence from a New Dataset," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 179-204, October.
    4. Powell, David, 2013. "A New Framework for Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects: Nonseparable Disturbance in the Presence of Covariates," Working Papers 824-1, RAND Corporation.
    5. Barro, Robert J, 1996. "Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
    6. Pushan Dutt & Daniel Traca, 2010. "Corruption and Bilateral Trade Flows: Extortion or Evasion?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 843-860, November.
    7. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2007. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 791-819.
    8. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731.
    9. Daron Acemoglu & Suresh Naidu & Pascual Restrepo & James A. Robinson, 2014. "Democracy Does Cause Growth," NBER Working Papers 20004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. James E. Anderson & Douglas Marcouiller, 2002. "Insecurity And The Pattern Of Trade: An Empirical Investigation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 342-352, May.
    11. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, September.
    12. Henri L. F. de Groot & Gert-Jan Linders & Piet Rietveld & Uma Subramanian, 2004. "The Institutional Determinants of Bilateral Trade Patterns," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 103-123, 02.
    13. Powell, David, 2014. "Did the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008 Reduce Labor Supply? Evidence from Quantile Panel Data Estimation," Working Papers 710-3, RAND Corporation.
    14. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    15. Christopher Balding, 2011. "A re-examination of the relation between democracy and international trade," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(5), pages 585-603, July.
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    17. Andrew Rose, 2005. "Which International Institutions Promote International Trade?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 682-698, 09.
    18. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    19. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-548, June.
    20. David Powell & Joachim Wagner, 2014. "The exporter productivity premium along the productivity distribution: evidence from quantile regression with nonadditive firm fixed effects," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 150(4), pages 763-785, November.
    21. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 158-183, December.
    22. repec:ran:wpaper:710-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Daniel Berger & William Easterly & Nathan Nunn & Shanker Satyanath, 2013. "Commercial Imperialism? Political Influence and Trade during the Cold War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 863-896, April.
    24. Yu, Miaojie, 2010. "Trade, democracy, and the gravity equation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 289-300, March.
    25. Marcella Nicolini & Alessia Paccagnini, 2011. "Does Trade Foster Institutions? An Empirical Assessment," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 2(2).
    26. Milner, Helen V. & Kubota, Keiko, 2005. "Why the Move to Free Trade? Democracy and Trade Policy in the Developing Countries," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(01), pages 107-143, January.
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