Uncertainty and Trade Agreements

48 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2013

See all articles by Nuno Limão

Nuno Limão

University of Maryland - Department of Economics

Giovanni Maggi

Yale University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2013


In this paper we explore the potential gains that a trade agreement (TA) can provide by regulating trade-policy uncertainty, in addition to the more standard gains from reducing the mean levels of trade barriers. We show that in a standard trade model with income-risk neutrality there tends to be an uncertainty-increasing motive for a TA. With income-risk aversion, on the other hand, the uncertainty-managing motive for a TA is determined by interesting trade-offs. For a given degree of risk aversion, an uncertainty-reducing motive for a TA is more likely to be present when the economy is more open, the export supply elasticity is lower and the economy is more specialized. Governments have stronger incentives to sign a TA when the trading environment is more uncertain. As exogenous trade costs decline, the gains from decreasing trade-policy uncertainty tend to become more important relative to the gains from reducing average trade barriers. We also derive simple

Keywords: Agreements, Investment, Policy Uncertainty, Trade

JEL Classification: F1, F13, F5, F6, O19

Suggested Citation

Limão, Nuno and Maggi, Giovanni, Uncertainty and Trade Agreements (January 2013). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9301. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2210272

Nuno Limão (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-7842 (Phone)
301-405 3542 (Fax)

Giovanni Maggi

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06511
United States
203-432-3569 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics