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Upgrading of Exports: Does the Integration into Trade Agreements Pave the Way to Product Upgrading?

Abstract : This paper investigates whether trade agreements help middle income countries to upgrade their product portfolio exported to high income countries. Combining product level trade flows from the CEPII-Baci database with information on product complexity from the Atlas of Economic Complexity and the DESTA database on trade agreements, this question is studied for a set of 135 countries between 2001 and 2013 based on a gravity framework. In this context, the development of the extensive and intensive margins for high complex products is considered as proxy for product upgrading. By exploiting the cross sectional dimension of the panel, this study finds that middle income countries export a wider product scope of complex goods if their trade relation is covered by an agreement including trade provisions related to competition, services and investments, compared to country pairs without an equivalent framework. Still, the consideration of the time dimension leads to ambiguous effect of these provisions. While positive estimation results for the intensive margin of complex goods are in line with related papers, negative effects on the extensive margin of complex goods are at odds with expectations of the mechanism between agreements and trade.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, July 15, 2020 - 5:05:40 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 24, 2020 - 3:40:49 AM

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Katharina Längle. Upgrading of Exports: Does the Integration into Trade Agreements Pave the Way to Product Upgrading?. 2020. ⟨halshs-02899973⟩

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