Joining the World Trade Organization: What is the Impact?

14 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2010


Research has called into question the impact of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on trade. This research, however, has been called into question on both modeling grounds for and failing to utilize comprehensive fixed effects. Others have found that when these factors are accounted for, imports rise by significant amounts. This paper seeks to reconcile these findings. I find that the WTO has a larger, though uneven, impact on exports than imports. The results indicate that the WTO frequently causes imports and exports to move in opposite directions negating any increase in overall trade. The regressions with and without fixed country effects generally demonstrate pattern consistency for generalized results that are robust to change. Owing to the finding that imports rise modestly or even fall without country effects while exports rise, the results imply that countries may not be as interested in liberalizing trade as selling to the world.

Suggested Citation

Balding, Christopher, Joining the World Trade Organization: What is the Impact?. Review of International Economics, Vol. 18, Issue 1, pp. 193-206, February 2010. Available at SSRN: or

Christopher Balding (Contact Author)

Fulbright University Vietnam ( email )


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