Trade, Democracy, and the Gravity Equation

37 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2006 Last revised: 23 Mar 2011

See all articles by Miaojie Yu

Miaojie Yu

Peking University - China Center for Economic Research (CCER)

Date Written: March 1, 2010


Does democracy affect trade? There are several channels by which democracy may affect trade, with differing implications. First, democratization in the exporting country can improve product quality and reduce trade costs, increasing bilateral trade. Second, democratization in the importing country may increase trade barriers and thus reduce imports. In this paper, I analyze the effect of democracy on trade by augmenting the gravity equation with democracy. Using a rich panel data set and controlling for the endogeneity of democracy, I find empirical evidence consistent with the hypothesis that democracy fosters trade. This finding is robust to various econometric methods and to the use of disaggregated specifications.

Keywords: Trade, Democracy, Gravity Equation

JEL Classification: F13, P51

Suggested Citation

Yu, Miaojie, Trade, Democracy, and the Gravity Equation (March 1, 2010). Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 91, No. 2, 2010. Available at SSRN:

Miaojie Yu (Contact Author)

Peking University - China Center for Economic Research (CCER) ( email )

Beijing, Beijing 100871
+86-10-6275-3109 (Phone)


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