Trade Patterns and Endogenous Institutions: Global Evidence

  • Stephan Huber
Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)


We propose a novel way to measure the rule of law intensity of exports at the goods level based on nearly 100 million disaggregated bilateral trade flows around the globe. We categorize goods into three groups: fragmented, primary, and other. The theoretical literature on hold-up problems connected to incomplete or incompletely enforceable contracts or property rights predicts that goods resulting from fragmented production processes should be the most rule of law intensive. However, we find that the rule of law intensity of other goods is, on average, only slightly lower than that of fragmented goods. We examine how exogenous variation in countries’ trade patterns influences the quality of institutions. Our regressions show that trade flows generated by fragmented and other processes of production improve rule of law, while trade flows generated by primary production do not.



I thank Nauro Campos, Jarko Fidrmuc, Michal Pilc and Eric Verhoogen and seminar participants at the VfS Wien, FIW Wien, DGO Berlin, Higher School of Economics (Moscow), IOS Regensburg, Roma Tre University and University of Perugia for helpful comments. Roman Horváth and Stephan Huber acknowledge support from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (grant P402/12/G097). Richard Frensch gratefully acknowledges support from the Bavarian Ministry of Science ForChange research network.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan Huber
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachbereich WirtschaftswissenschaftUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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