Review of World Economics

, Volume 152, Issue 3, pp 477–499 | Cite as

Do regional trade agreements really boost trade? Evidence from agricultural products

  • Sébastien JeanEmail author
  • Jean-Christophe Bureau
Original Paper


We evaluate the impact on trade of regional trade agreements (RTAs) using a panel data approach at the detailed product level which exploits exports to third destinations and imports from third origins as benchmarks. This method is robust to both endogeneity and heterogeneity across agreements and across products, and allows differentiation between the impacts of tariff provisions and non-tariff provisions. The analysis covers agricultural and food products for 74 country pairs linked by an agreement entered into force during the period 1998–2009. Our estimate of the mean elasticity of substitution across imports at product level is slightly below four. Counterfactual simulations suggest that RTAs have increased partners’ bilateral agricultural and food exports by 30–40 % on average, with marked heterogeneity across agreements. Also, RTAs are found to increase the probability of exporting a given product to a partner country although this impact is small. Finally, we found non-tariff provisions have no measurable trade impact.


Regional trade agreement International trade Agricultural products Tariff protection 

JEL Classfication

F13 Q17 

Supplementary material

10290_2016_253_MOESM1_ESM.docx (55 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 55 kb)


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Copyright information

© Kiel Institute 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEPIIParisFrance
  2. 2.Economie publique, AgroParisTech, INRA, Université Paris-SaclayThiverval-GrignonFrance

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