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Journal article

Are all trade agreements equal? The role of distance in shaping the effect of economic integration agreements on trade flows

How does geographic distance affect the impact of trade agreements on bilateral exports, and through what channels? This paper examines this questions in a gravity model context for different types of goods for 185 countries over the period 1965-2010. Three stylized facts emerge. First, although economic integration agreements have a positive impact on trade flows, geographic distance significantly decreases their effect. Second, this phenomenon is in large part explained by the impact of economic integration agreements on distance-sensitive goods, in particular intermediates. These results hold when controlling for trade agreement depth, measured by the type of agreement and content of provisions, and economic similarity among trading partners. Third, this paper finds either no significant effect or a positive interaction between distance and economic integration agreements for final goods, suggesting that trade agreements among countries located far from each other help consumption patterns shift toward the most efficient producers.

Rebecca Freeman and Samuel Pienknagura

1 May 2019

Review of World Economics 155(2) , pp.257-285, 2019

DOI: 10.1007/s10290-018-0327-3

This Journal article is published under the centre's Trade programme.