DP9085 Market Access in Global and Regional Trade

Author(s): José de Sousa, Thierry Mayer, Soledad Zignago
Publication Date: August 2012
Keyword(s): Border Effects, Distances, Gravity, Market Access, North-South Trade, Regional integration, Tariffs, Trade Costs
JEL(s): F12
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9085

This paper develops a method to measure difficulties in market access over a large set of industries and countries (both developing and developed), during the period 1980-2006. We use a micro-founded heterogeneous-consumers model to estimate the impact of national borders on global and regional trade flows. Results show that difficulties faced by developing countries' exporters in accessing developed markets are 50\% higher than those faced by Northern exporters. These difficulties have however experienced a noticeable fall since 1980 in all industries. It is twenty three times easier to enter Northern and Southern markets for a Southern country exporter in 2006 than in 1980. Expressed in tariff-equivalent, the level of protection implied when crossing a border fell from 180 to 89\% for this same sample. While tariffs still have an influence on trade patterns, they do not seem to explain an important part of the border effect. Last, our theory-based measure offers a renewal of the assessment of the impact of regional trading arrangements. The EU, NAFTA, ASEAN and MERCOSUR agreements all tend to reduce the estimated degree of market fragmentation within those zones, with the expected ranking between their respective trade impact.