On the Effects of GATT/WTO Membership on Trade: They are Positive and Large after All
31 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2019
Date Written: 2019
We capitalize on the latest developments in the empirical structural gravity literature to revisit the question of whether and how much does GATT/WTO membership affect international trade. We are the first to capture the non-discriminatory nature of GATT/WTO commitments by measuring the effects of GATT/WTO membership on international trade relative to domestic sales. These unilateral effects of GATT/WTO membership are found to be large, positive, and statistically significant. We also obtain bilateral GATT/WTO estimates, which are larger than those reported in the literature. In particular, our results imply that, on average, joining GATT and/or WTO has increased trade between members by 171% and trade between member and non-member countries by about 88%. We also find that although both GATT/WTO has been effective in promoting trade between members, the WTO has been more effective in promoting trade with non-members than GATT. A battery of sensitivity experiments confirms the effectiveness of our methods and robustness of our main findings.
Keywords: GATT/WTO, international trade, domestic sales, structural gravity
JEL Classification: F130, F140, F160
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation