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Outputs: Global Knowledge Products

Economic Crisis

  • Working Paper 4594: Implications for Higher Global Food Prices for Poverty in Low-Income Countries 
    In many poor countries, the recent increases in prices of staple foods raise the real incomes of those selling food, many of whom are relatively poor, while hurting net food consumers, many of whom are also relatively poor. The impacts on poverty will certainly be very diverse, but the average impact on poverty depends upon the balance between these two effects, and can only be determined by looking at real-world data.Results using household data for ten observations on nine low-income countries show that the short-run impacts of higher staple food prices on poverty differ considerably by commodity and by country, but, that poverty increases are much more frequent, and larger, than poverty reductions.

  • Working Paper 5015: The Trade Response to Global Downturns: Historical Evidence 
    Explores why trade collapsed so fast and furiously in the economic crisis. It finds that elasticity of trade to income have risen over time and that trade responds more ntensely to income during downturns. It also investigates affected industries and how trade balances adjust during global downturns. This paper was presented at an OECD workshop on the collapse in trade. There was a Vox blog on the paper and it was covered in the Economist magazine (July 2009) and Reuters (August 2009).

  • Working Paper 5274: Is Protectionism on the Rise? Assessing National Trade Policies during the crisis of 2008
    To understand the role of trade policies in the crisis of 2008, this paper constructs the overall trade restrictiveness indices for a wide range of countries using their tariff schedules in 2008 and 2009. The index summarizes the trade policy stance of a country, taking into account the share of each good in trade as well as its corresponding import demand elasticity. Results show that there is no widespread increase in protectionism via tariff policies since the global financial crisis has unfolded.

  • Working Paper 5294: Trade Crisis and Recovery: Restructuring of Global Value Chains
    The recent large and rapid slowdown in economic activity has resulted in even larger and more rapid declines in international trade. As world trade is set to rebound, this paper addresses three questions: (i) Will trade volumes rebound in a symmetric fashion as world economic growth rebounds? (ii) Will the crisis result in a change in the structure of trade, and in particular will it lead to a reversal of the pattern of more diversified sourcing and thus to a consolidation of global value chains? (iii) What policies can improve the prospects for developing country growth in the event that trade volumes do not rebound symmetrically and there is a consolidation of some global value chains?

  • Monthly Trade Watch Notes by C. Freund and Ileana Cristina Neagu
    Provide updates to regions on how trade is adjusting during the crisis. The regions have found this very useful as trade indicators come out early and are reliable. This had led to specific request from the Caribbean, Africa and IDA for more detailed information. Data have also been used repeatedly in the Economist and other regional newspapers.

  • “Financial Crisis and Vulnerability in Developing Countries”, forthcoming

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Market Acess, Trade Policy and Agreements

  • Working Paper 5051: The Global Resort to Antidumping, Safeguards, and other Trade Remedies Amidst the Economic Crisis
    This paper examines newly available data from the World Bank-sponsored Global Antidumping Database tracking the worldwide use of trade remedies such as antidumping, countervailing duties, global safeguards and China-specific safeguards during the current economic crisis. The data indicate a marked increase in WTO members’ combined resort to these instruments beginning in 2008 that continued into the first quarter 2009. The use of these import-restricting instruments is increasingly affecting "South-South" trade, i.e., developing country importers initiating and imposing new protectionist measures primarily affecting developing country exporters, with a special emphasis on exports from China. However, the collective value of imports in 2007 for the major (G-20) economies that has subsequently come under attack by the use of import-restricting trade remedies during the period of 2008 to early 2009 is likely less than $29 billion, or less than 0.45 per cent of these economies’ total imports, though there is substantial variation across countries.

  • Working Paper 5165: Krueger/Schiff/Valdes revisited - Agricultural Price and Trade Policy Reform in Developing Countries Since 1960
    This paper summarizes the methodology used in the new study (pointing out similarities and differences with those used by the OECD and by Krueger, Schiff and Valdes), compares a synopsis of the indicators from Krueger, Schiff and Valdes and the new study for the period to 1984, summarizes the changing extent of price distortions across countries and commodities globally since then, and concludes by evaluating the degree of distortion reduction over the years since 1984 compared with how much still remains, according to the results of a global economy wide model.

  • Working Paper 5168: Developing Countries, Dispute Settlement, and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law
    This paper examines developing country participation in the WTO dispute settlement system to enforce foreign market access rights already negotiated in earlier multilateral rounds. The paper also examines potential impacts of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL) into the WTO system in 2001. A close look at the data reveals evidence on at least three channels through which the ACWL may be enhancing developing countries' ability to self-enforce foreign market access: increased initiation of sole-complainant cases, more extensive pursuit of the DSU legal process for any given case, and initiation of disputes over smaller values of lost trade.

  • Working Paper 5184: What Constrains Africa's Exports?
    This paper examines the effects of transit, documentation, and ports and customs delays on Africa’s exports. The authors find that transit delays have the most economically and statically significant effect on exports. A one-day reduction in inland travel times leads to a 7 percent increase in exports. Put another way, a one-day reduction in inland travel times translates to a 1.5 percentage point decrease in all importing-country tariffs. By contrast, longer delays in the other areas have a far smaller impact on trade. The analysis controls for the possibility that greater trade leads to shorter delays in three ways. First, it examines the effect of trade times on exports of new products. Second, it evaluates the effect of delays in a transit country on the exports of landlocked countries. Third, it examines whether delays affect time-sensitive goods relatively more. The authors show that large transit delays are relatively more harmful because of high within-country variation.

  • Working Paper 5200: Formulas and Flexibility in Trade Negotiations: Sensitive Agricultural Products in the WTO's Doha Agenda
    This paper uses a rigorous specification based on the objectives of policy makers in setting the pre-negotiation tariff. Applying this approach with detailed data allows the authors to assess the implications of sensitive-product provisions for average agricultural tariffs, economic welfare, and market access under the Doha negotiations. The authors conclude that highest-tariff rules are likely to seriously underestimate the impacts on average tariffs, and that treating even 2 percent of tariff lines as sensitive is likely to have a sharply adverse impact on economic welfare. The impacts on market access are also adverse, but much smaller, perhaps reflecting the mercantilist focus of the negotiating process.

  • Working Paper 5214: Distance and Regionalization of Trade for Low-Income Countries 
    The "distance effect" measuring the elasticity of trade flows to distance has been rising since the early 1970s in a host of studies based on the gravity model, leading observers to call it the "distance puzzle". This paper reviews the evidence and explanations. Using an extensive data set of 124 countries over the period 1970-2005, the authors confirm the existence of this puzzle and identify that it only applies to poor countries (the bottom third in per capita income terms in the sample -- i.e., the low-income countries according to the World Bank classification, 2006). The analysis shows that this group has intensified trade with closer partners and has chosen new partners that are closer than existing partners, leading to a regionalization of their trade at both extensive and intensive margins (regionalization of trade is absent for the other countries).

  • Working Paper 5217: Intellectual Property Rights, Human Capital and the Incidence of R&D Expenditures. Numerous studies predict that developing countries with low human capital may not benefit from the strengthening of intellectual property rights. The authors extend an influential theoretical framework to highlight the role of intellectual property rights in the process of innovation and structural change. The resulting theory is consistent with a stylized fact that appears in the data, namely that countries with poor intellectual-property protection may accumulate human capital without a corresponding increase in research and development investment as a share of national income. The model predicts that without minimum intellectual-property protection, additional education may result in more imitation rather than innovation. The preponderance of the econometric evidence presented in this paper suggests that interactions between human capital and intellectual property rights determine global patterns of research and development effort, and intellectual property rights tend to raise the effect of education on the incidence of research and development.

  • Working Paper 5223: Self-Enforcing agreements: evidence from time-varying trade policy This paper estimates a model of a government making trade policy adjustments under a self-enforcing trade agreement in the presence of economic shocks. The empirical model is motivated by the formal theories of cooperative trade agreements. The authors find evidence that United States' use of its antidumping policy during 1997-2006 is consistent with increases in time-varying "cooperative" tariffs, where the likelihood of antidumping is increasing in the size of unexpected import surges, decreasing in the volatility of imports, and decreasing in the elasticities of import demand and export supply. The analysis finds additional support for the theory that some US antidumping use is consistent with cooperative behavior through a second empirical examination of how trading partners responded to these new US tariffs.

  • Working Paper 5291: China's Export Growth and the China Safeguard: Threats to the World Trading System
    Is there evidence from China's pre-WTO accession period that newly imposed U.S. or EU import restrictions deflect Chinese exports to third markets? The authors examine this question by drawing on a newly constructed data set of U.S. and EU product-level import restrictions on Chinese trade imposed between 1992 and 2001 and estimate their impact on Chinese exports to 38 alternative markets. There is no systematic evidence that the import restrictions imposed during this period resulted in Chinese exports surging to such alternate destinations. To the contrary, there is weak evidence of a chilling effect on China's exports to third markets.

  • Working Paper 5301: Developing Countries and Monitoring WTO Commitments in Response to the Global Economic Crisis
    This paper examines the role of the public sector in providing additional information to exporters in developing countries as they seek to monitor and keep open their access to foreign markets by using the rules of the WTO system. It highlights new information generation and dissemination initiatives undertaken by the WTO Secretariat, Global Trade Alert, and the World Bank in response to the global economic crisis of 2008-2009.

  • Working Paper 5309: Developing Countries and WTO commitments in response to the global economic crisis
    This paper examines the role of the public sector in providing additional information to exporters in developing countries as they seek to monitor and keep open their access to foreign markets by using the rules of the WTO system. It highlights new information generation and dissemination initiatives undertaken by the WTO Secretariat, Global Trade Alert, and the World Bank in response to the global economic crisis of 2008-2009. Given trends in the imposition of new crisis-era trade barriers that these initiatives have identified, the paper describes ways in which the new sources of rich and detailed data may be used to further assist developing country exporters that may lack the capacity to sufficiently monitor their trading interests by relying solely on private resources.

  • Working Paper 5314: Regional Trade Agreements
    This paper reviews the theoretical and empirical literature on regionalism. The formation of regional trade agreements has been, by far, the most popular form of reciprocal trade liberalization in the past 15 years. The discriminatory character of these agreements has raised three main concerns: that trade diversion would be rampant, because special interest groups would induce governments to form the most distortionary agreements; that broader external trade liberalization would stall or reverse; and that multilateralism could be undermined. Theoretically, all of these concerns are legitimate, although there are also several theoretical arguments that oppose them. Empirically, neither widespread trade diversion nor stalled external liberalization has materialized, while the undermining of multilateralism has not been properly tested.

  • Working Paper 5344: Agriculture Distortions in Sub Saharan Africa: Trade and Welfare Indicators, 1961-2004
    This working paper provides a partial equilibrium alternative to economy-wide modelling by drawing on a modification of so called trade restrictiveness indexes to provide theoretically precise indicators of the trade and welfare effects of agricultural policy distortions to producer and consumer prices over the past half century.

  • Working Paper 5352: U.S. Antidumping - Much Ado About Zeroing
    This paper provides a positive analysis of the zeroing issue, explains how it has evolved and who is likely to be affected by it.

  • Working Paper 5361: Aid for Trade: Building on Progress Today for Tomorrow's Future 
    This paper reviews recent trends in the allocation of aid for trade and analyses of its effectiveness. It identifies a number of opportunities for concerted action to enhance the impact of aid for trade initiatives, including greater involvement by middle-income countries in the initiative (through improved market access, investment flows, and knowledge transfers); deeper engagement with the private sector -- a key source of information on what works and what does not; a stronger focus on improving the "behind the border" policies that affect the efficiency of key services sectors and help determine firm-level competitiveness; and a stronger focus on monitoring and evaluation of results.

  • Working Paper 5396: The Role of Standards in Global Value Chains
    This paper overviews the history of standards, explains the difference between different types of standards, and identifies the key stakeholders involved in the setting of standards. It then addresses the role that standards play in enterprise upgrading and considers some of the major costs for producers in meeting standards, including potential cost barriers for small-scale producers. Before concluding with a discussion of the policy challenges raised by these developments, it discusses the extent to which standards intensity in global value chains will be affected when the final markets increasingly move from high-income consumers in the North to lower-income consumers in Southern economies such as China and India.

  • Working Paper 5407: Export Entrepreneurs - Evidence from Peru
    This paper examines firm entry and survival in exporting, and in products and markets not previously served by any domestic exporters.

  • Working Paper 5515: Do Private Inspection Programs Affect Trade Facilitation?
    This paper explores the "facilitation" effect of private inspection programs on trade. The results indicate that private inspection has a positive and significant trade-facilitation effect. These programs raise import volumes for countries using them by approximately 2 to 10 percent.

  • Working Paper 5511: Trade Barrier Volatility and Domestic Price Stabilization - Evidence from Agriculture
    This paper explores the extent of that behavior by governments in the case of agricultural products, particularly food staples whose prices have spiked three times over the past four decades.

  • GTAP Paper 3365: Potential Implications of the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) in Agriculture 
    This paper uses a stochastic simulation model of the world wheat market to investigate the effects of policy makers implementing policies based on the SSM. This paper estimates that implementation of the quantity-triggered measures would shrink average wheat imports by nearly 50 percent in some regions, with world wheat trade falling by 4.7 percent. The price measures discriminate against low price exporters -many of whom are developing countries---and tend to increase producer price instability.

  • Website: Distortions to Agricultural Incentives
    This major research project addresses the policy biases on why many welfare and trade reducing price distortions remain inter sectoral  as well as within the agricultural sector of low income countries in two stages.  The first stage involves a series of national country studies in Africa, Asia, Latin America and and Europe’s economies which include overviews of policy trends since the 1950s in more advanced economies, together with trade restrictiveness and global, and economy  wide CGE modeling analyses to get a better picture of the world’s distortions to agricultural incentives.  The second stage of the research uses econometrics to estimate the political economy reasons behind the pattern of distortions across countries, commodities, and over time and the inequality, poverty and other economic effects of current versus alternative policy regimes for individual countries.

  • Toolkit: Tariff Reform Impact Simulation Tool (TRIST)
    TRIST is an interactive easy-to-use Excel based tool to simulate the short term impacts of tariff reform on fiscal revenue, imports, protection and domestic output and employment.

  • Website and Static Memo: Regional Trade Agreements
    The website provides information on the different regional trade agreements.

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Trade Costs - Logistics, Standards and Trade Facilitation

  • Working Paper 4719: Why Trade Facilitation Matters to Africa?
    This paper reviews data and research on trade costs for Sub-Saharan African countries. It focuses on: border-related costs, transport costs, costs related to behind-the border issues, and the costs of compliance with rules of origin specific to preferential trade agreements.

  • Working Paper 4848: Assessing the Impact of Political Economy Factors on Rules of Origin Under NAFTA
    This study quantifies the impact of both determinants - those considered "justifiable" because they prevent trade deflection and those deemed to arise from "political economy" forces - on the restrictiveness of rules of origin under the North American Free Trade Agreement, approximated by a restrictiveness index.

  • Working Paper 4916: Beyond the Information Technology Agreement: Harmonization of Standards and Trade in Electronics
    Using a new World Bank database of European standards for electronic products, the authors examine the impact of internationally-harmonized European standards on European Union imports. The authors find that European Union standards for electronic that are harmonized to international standards have a positive and significant effect on trade. The results suggest that efforts to promote trade in electronic products could be complemented by steps to promote standards harmonization. This might include, for example, re-starting talks to extend the Information Technology Agreement to non-tariff measures and commitments to harmonize national standards in electronic products.

  • Working Paper 5064: Aid for Trade Facilitation
    This paper examines the specific question of whether foreign aid directed toward the trade facilitation agenda has increased trade of developing countries. Using the data on types of aid flows, this analysis examines the relationship between aid-and-trade according to different classifications of the type of aid extended and received.

  • Working Paper 5214: Distance and Regionalization of Trade for Low-Income Countries
    This paper reviews the evidence and explanations of why the "distance effect" (which measures the elasticity of trade flows to distance) has been rising since the early 1970s, lead observers to call it the "distance puzzle". Using an extensive data set of 124 countries over the period 1970-2005, the authors confirm the existence of this puzzle and identify that it only applies to poor countries. The analysis shows that this group has intensified trade with closer partners and has chosen new partners that are closer than existing partners, leading to a regionalization of their trade at both extensive and intensive margins (regionalization of trade is absent for the other countries).

  • Working Paper 5261: Export Performance and Trade Facilitation Reform: Hard and Soft Infrastructure
    The authors estimate the impact of aggregate indicators of "soft" and "hard" infrastructure on the export peformance of developing countries. They build four new indicators for 101 countries over the period 2004 -2007. Estimates show that trade facilitation reforms do improve the export performance of developing countries.This is particularly true with investment in physical infrastructure and regulatory reform to improve the business environment.

  • Issue Brief: The Crisis and Beyond: Why Trade Facilitation Matters 
    This paper reviews data and research on trade costs for Sub Saharan African countries. It focuses on: border-related costs, transport costs, costs related to behnd -the border issues, and the costs of compliance with rules of origin specific to preferential trade agreements. Using gravity-model estimates, the authors compute ad-valorem equivalents of improvements in trade indicators for a sample of African countries. The evidence suggests that the gains for African exporters from improving the trade logistics half-way to the level in South Africa is more important than a substantive cut in tariff barriers.

  • Report and Benchmarking Tool: Logistics Performance Index 
    The LPI is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance – the LPI allows for comparisons across 150 countries.

  • Trade Facilitation and Aid for Trade: Today’s Agenda and Investing for Tomorrow,” National Board of Trade and Swedish International Development Agency, Stockholm, March 23, 2009.
    This provides regional operations in Africa with data and indicators on impact of various reform measures on trade for the region. The methodology is used to provide estimations of gains in trade facilitation improve-ments for other regions, such as Europe and Central Asia, and for other countries, such as South Africa and Uruguay.


  • Trade, Transparency, and Welfare in the Asia Pacific,” with Kazutomo Abe, Journal of International Economic Studies, Vol. 12 No. 2, December 2008, pages 35-78.

  • Help or Hinderance: The Impact of Harmonized Standards on African Exports,” with Witold Czbala and Ben Shepherd, Journal of African Economies, March 2009.

  • Transparency, Trade Costs, and Regional Integration in the Asia-Pacific” with Mat-thias Helble and Ben Shepherd, The World Economy, Volume 32, Issue 3, March 2009, pp. 479-508.

  • Transparency, Trade Costs, and Regional Integration in the Asia-Pacific” with Mat-thias Helble and Ben Shepherd, The World Economy, Volume 32, Issue 3, March 2009, pp. 479-508.

  • Aid for Trade Facilitation: Does it Matter?” with Matthias Helble and Catherine L. Mann. (Mimeo) April 2009.

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  • Economic Premise Note 3: Export-led Growth v2.0
    This note shows that much of the recent growth in developing countries’ exports was driven by demand in other developing countries. This means that developing countries may continue to rely on South-South trade to recover from the crisis. In fact, countries like China are leading the recovery through strong import demand.

  • Working Paper 4750: Export Surges: The Power of a Competitive Economy
    The authors examine 92 episodes of export surges, defined as significant increases in manufacturing export growth that are sustained for at least seven years. They find that export surges in developing countries tend to be preceded by a large real depreciation-which leaves the exchange rate significantly undervalued-and a reduction in exchange rate volatility. In contrast, in developed countries, the role of the exchange rate is less pronounced. The authors examine why the exchange rate is so important in developing countries and find that the depreciation leads to a significant reallocation of resources in the export sector. The authors argue that maintaining a competitive currency leads firms to expand the product and market space for exports, inducing a large reorientation of the tradable sector.

  • Working Paper 4997: Competition, Imitation, and Technical Change: Quality versus Variety
    Some researchers have documented that the path of development is remarkably related to the pattern of sectoral diversification. Others have highlighted the relation between productive specialization and economic progress. This paper explores the role of product market competition and intellectual property rights protection in the pattern of sectoral diversification. The paper confirms the insight of the innovation literature, that competition induces firms to specialize and upgrade the quality of existing goods. However, it reveals a new force, called the imitation effect, through which competition biases technical change toward product diversification.

  • Working Paper 5043: Technology Adoption and Factor Proportions in Open Economies: Theory and Evidence from the Global Computer Industry
    This paper relaxes the assumption that theories of international trade assume that all countries use similar and exogenous technologies in the production of any good. Using data on net exports of a single industry, computers, intellectual property rights and factor endowments for 73 countries during 1980-2000, the paper shows that once technological choices are considered, countries with different factor endowments can become net exporters of the same product.

  • Book: Breaking Into New Markets: Emerging Lessons for Export Diversification
    This book exploress new thinking and evidence about export diversification, and elaborates on policies to promote diversification. The papers in this book are written as short, policy focused chapters that digest often longer, more academic papers in an effort to make them accessible to a larger policy and non-technical audience. In that sense, it is a policy primer: what export diversification can and cannot do for growth, and how to make it happen.

  • Toolkit: Clusters for Competitiveness: A Practical Guide and Policy Implications for Developing Cluster Initiatives 
    This is a a Practical Guide and Toolkit which offers a rationale and a practical approach for using cluster analysis to enhance competitiveness in developing countries. While this document is not meant to be exhaustive, it presents a sound conceptual framework, outlines key instruments that can be used to initiate a cluster-based analyses and dialogues, and offers case studies on good practices and lessons learnt. It does not entail a definitive set of instruments; instead, it intends to contribute to ongoing discussions regarding the use of cluster analysis to promote competitiveness.

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Services Trade

  • Working Paper 4782: Foreign Professionals and Domestic Regulation
    Changes in demographics and patterns of investment in human capital are creating increased scope for international trade in professional services. The scope for mutually beneficial trade is, however, inhibited not only by quotas and discriminatory taxation, but also by domestic regulation - including a range of qualification and licensing requirements and procedures. To illustrate the nature and implications of these regulatory impediments, this paper presents a detailed description of the regulatory requirements faced in the United States market by four types of Indian professionals: doctors, engineers, architects, and accountants. India is one of the largest exporters of skilled services, and the United States is one of the largest importers of skilled services, so these two countries reflect broader global trends. The paper argues that regulatory discrimination, for example through preferential recognition agreements, has implications both for the pattern of trade and for welfare.

  • Working Paper 4903: Services in Doha: What’s on the Table?
    This paper presents the results of the first survey of applied trade policies in the major services sectors of 56 industrial and developing countries. These policies are then compared with these countries' Uruguay Round commitments in services and the best offers that they have made in the current Doha negotiations. The paper finds that at this stage, Doha promises greater security of access to markets but not any additional liberalization. Uruguay Round commitments are on average 2.3 times more restrictive than current policies. The best offers submitted so far as part of the Doha negotiations improve on Uruguay Round commitments by about 13 percent but remain on average 1.9 times more restrictive than actual policies. The World Trade Organization's Hong Kong Ministerial had set out ambitious goals for services but the analysis here shows that much remains to be done to achieve them

  • Working Paper 4950: Labor Skills and Foreign Investment in a Dynamic Economy: Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model for Singapore
    This paper analyzes inbound and outbound investment between Singapore and a sample of industrialized and developing countries over the period 1984-2003. They find that Singapore’s two-way investment with industrialized nations has shifted into skill-seeking activities over the period, while Singapore’s investments in developing countries have increased sharply and become concentrated in labor-seeking activities. Singapore’s increasing skill abundance relative to all countries in the sample accounted for 41 percent of average inbound stocks during the period, that is, US$18 billion annually; the corresponding figure for outbound stocks was 40 percent, that is, US$5.51 billion annually.

  • Working Paper 5047: Criss-Crossing Globalization: Uphill Flows of Skill-Intensive Goods and Foreign Direct Investment
    This paper documents an unusual and possibly significant phenomenon: the export of skills, embodied in goods, services or capital from poorer to richer countries. This was done through a new combined dataset on foreign direct investment (covering greenfield investment as well as mergers and acquisitions). The analysis shows that flows of foreign direct investment to developed countries from developing countries - like Brazil, India, Malaysia and South Africa - as a share of their GDP, are as large as flows from developed countries - like Japan, Korea and the United States. The authors suggest that it is not just the composition of exports but their destination that matters. In both cross-sectional and panel regressions, with a range of controls, a measure of uphill flows of sophisticated goods is significantly associated with better growth performance. These results suggest the need for a deeper analysis of whether the benefits of development might derive not from deifying comparative advantage but from defying it.

  • Working Paper 5517: Services Trade Liberalization and Regulatory Reform This paper develops two proposals to enhance the prospects for both liberalization of services trade and regulatory reform.

  • Working Paper 08-2: Currency Undervaluation and Sovereign Wealth Funds: A New Role for the World Trade Organization
    Two aspects of global imbalances - undervalued exchange rates and sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) - require a multilateral response. For reasons of inadequate leverage and eroding legitimacy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has not been effective in dealing with undervalued exchange rates. Mattoo and Subramanian propose new rules in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to discipline cases of significant undervaluation that are clearly attributable to government action. The rationale for WTO involvement is that there are large trade consequences of undervalued exchange rates, which act as both import tariffs and export subsidies, and that the WTO's enforcement mechanism is credible and effective. The WTO would not be involved in exchange rate management, and the authors’ proposals do not entail the WTO displacing the IMF. Rather, they would harness the comparative advantage of the two institutions, with the IMF providing the essential technical expertise in WTO enforcement.

  • Toolkit: Negotiating Trade in Services: A Practical Guide for Developing Countries
    The main aim of this report is to provide a practical checklist to help services negotiations, officials in ministries and regulatory agencies, and the broad stakeholder communities (including those inside the World Bank and in aid agencies) to gain a better sense of the key "moments" in the life cycle of services negotiations.

  • Book: Trade in Services Negotiations
    The book provides a practical recommendations and tools that may be applied in the pursuit of negotiations on services including consultation and regulatory audit.


  • "Doha Development Agenda: What’s on the Table?" Journal of International Trade and Development, 2009.

  • Foreign Professionals in the United States: Regulatory Impediments to Trade, Journal of International Economic Law, 2009.

  • "Multilateralism Beyond Doha," Foreign Affairs, January/February, 15-26 - accepted for publication, 2009.

  • "Services Trade and Growth," Chapter 1 in Opening Markets for Trade in Services, edited by Juan A. Marchetti and Martin Roy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008.

  • "Regionalism in Standards: Good or Bad for Trade?" Canadian Journal of Economics. Volume 41 Issue 3, 838-863), 2008.

  • "International Trade in Services," in Ramkishen Rajan and Kenneth Reinert, eds., The Princeton Encyclopaedia of the World Economy, Princeton University Press, 2008.

  • "The General Agreement on Trade in Services," in Ramkishen Rajan and Kenneth Reinert , eds., The Princeton Encyclopaedia of the World Economy, Princeton University Press.

  • "India and Bretton Woods II," Special Article in the Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 43, 62-70, 2008.

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Climate Change

  • “Climate Change, Agriculture, and Poverty”, forthcoming

  • Working Paper 5121: Can Global De-carbonization Inhibit Developing Country Industrialization?
    Contrary to most economic analyses of climate change, the authors depart first in disaggregating the impact by sector, focusing particularly on manufacturing output and exports because of the potential growth consequences. Second, they decompose the impact of an agreement on emissions reductions into three components: the change in the price of carbon due to each country's emission cuts per se; the further change in this price due to emissions tradability; and the changes due to any international transfers (private and public).

  • Working Paper 5123: Reconciling Climate Change and Trade Policy
    Industrial countries clamor for additional border taxes on imports from countries with lower carbon prices. The authors confirm the findings of other research that unilateral emissions cuts by industrial countries will have minimal carbon leakage effects. However, output and exports of energy-intensive manufactures are projected to decline potentially creating pressure for trade action. A key factor affecting the impact of any border taxes is whether they are based on the carbon content of imports or the carbon content in domestic production. Quantitative estimates suggest that the former action when applied to all merchandise imports would address competitiveness and environmental concerns in high income countries but with serious consequences for trading partners. Border tax adjustment based on the carbon content in domestic production, especially if applied to both imports and exports, would broadly address the competitiveness concerns of producers in high income countries and less seriously damage developing country trade.

  • PREM Note: Carbon Labelling and Poor Country Exports 
    This article discusses the carbon accounting and carbon labelling schemes being developed to address concerns over climate change with a view to their impact on small stakeholders, especially low income countries. It also aims to draw attention to the potential impact of carbon measurement, footprinting, labelling schemes on the exports of LICs in a context in which such schemes are being developed and applied.

  • Economic Premise 27: Can Carbon Labeling Be Development Friendly? Recommendations on How to Improve Emerging Schemes 
    Carbon accounting and labeling for products are new instruments of supply chain management that may affect developing country export opportunities. Most instruments in use today are private business management tools, although the underlying science and methodologies may spread to issues subject to public regulation. This note seeks to inform stakeholders involved in the design of carbon labeling schemes and in the making of carbon emission measurement methodologies about an overlooked issue: How can carbon labeling be made to be both development friendly and scientifically correct in its representation of developing-country agricultural sectors?

  • Methodological Complexities of Product Carbon Footprinting: A Sensitivity Analysis of Key Variables in a Developing Country Context
    This analysis highlights the effects of methodology of PCFs. The results are of particular concern for developing countries where data are scarce and use of global worse case data may be prescribed. It recommends the development of a more precise emission factors for tropical countries and bio regions.and encourage the transparent use of PCF methodologies, where data sources, uncertainties and variability are explicitly noted.

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  • Report: Trade in World Bank: Country Assistance Strategies
    Reviews the coverage of trade in World Bank country assistance strategies. It assesses the extent of operational trade programs presented in CASs, thematic focus of these programs and the types of assistance envisioned during the implementation of the CAS. It also provides a baseline information on the extent of trade in the Bank’s country programs for use in the monitoring and evaluation of trust that have been in established in recent years to expand the Bank’s trade assistance.

  • Database: World Trade Indicators
    It is a comprehensive database that compiles more than 310 trade-related policy incidence, institutional, and outcome indicators with the objective of (i) enhancing awareness of the different policy factors that work together to influence country trade outcomes, (ii) providing incentives for reform by benchmarking and highlighting a country's policy posi tion relative to competitors, (iii) allowing comparisons over time in order to better design policy, and (iv) highlighting important gaps in the existing data. The data sources are chosen to maximize coverage, cross-country comparability and quality.

  • Working Paper 5134: The Potential Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on World Trade
    This paper models the global financial crisis as a combination of shocks to global housing markets and sharp increases in risk premia of firms, households and international investors in a global economic model. The model has six sectors of production and trade in 15 major economies and regions. The paper shows that the shocks observed in financial markets can be used to generate the severe economic contraction in global trade and production experienced in 2009. In particular the distinction between the production and trade of durable and non durable goods plays a key role in explaining the much larger contraction in trade than GDP experienced by most economies. The paper explores the implications of the large increase in fiscal deficits and the implications of a global trade war in response to the financial crisis.

  • “Policy Options for Meeting Growing Food Demand”, forthcoming

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Last updated on Mar 22, 2011

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