Essays on Institutional and Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade
Kuenzel, David Julian
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The overarching theme of this dissertation is the analysis of institutional and macroeconomic factors that shape and interact with international trade. Chapters 1, 2 and 4 of this dissertation examine how institutional arrangements impact trade policy decisions and bilateral trade flows, while chapter 3 analyzes how the structural composition of trade affects macroeconomic development. Chapters 1 and 2 focus on the emergence of trade disputes in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Starting out in chapter 1 with a thorough stylized facts analysis of the usage pattern of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, chapter 2 develops and empirically tests a model of members' selection into WTO disputes which can account for a number of key discoveries in the data. In particular, I extend the standard WTO theory by incorporating a link between endogenous trade policy formation and agreement violation and dispute filing decisions. I show that countries are more likely to engage in trade disputes as complainants or defendants when they have a small ``tariff overhang'', which represents the difference between bound tariffs (by WTO negotiations) and the actually applied tariffs. Chapter 3 considers the question whether the structure of a nation's trade flows has a clear-cut effect on economic growth. In the growth determinants literature, numerous alternative candidate regressors have been motivated by alternative theories but not one trade regressor has been robustly related to growth. Instead of relying on aggregate trade measures as previous studies, chapter 3 proposes a structured approach and examines the diversity of sectoral exports as a potential growth determinant. Controlling for model uncertainty and endogeneity, chapter 3 shows that export diversity serves as a crucial growth determinant for low income countries, an effect that weakens with the level of development. Chapter 4 examines to what extent underlying differences in the design of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) are responsible for the observed heterogeneity in PTA effects on bilateral trade flows. Controlling in the estimation framework for multilateral resistance terms and bilateral heterogeneity to reduce omitted variable and endogeneity biases, chapter 4 shows that PTAs focusing on goods trade liberalization and the legal enforceability of agreement provisions are most successful in raising trade flows. Moreover, countries' efforts to harmonize product standards and other regulations decrease bilateral trade flows, at least initially. The results also show that the underlying agreement dimension effects mostly operate through the intensive margin of trade.
- Economics