DP1568 | Structural Change and International Trade

Publication Date


JEL Code(s)


Programme Area(s)



This paper examines trends in trade behaviour of 48 countries since the Second World War. In light of the substantial movement towards removal of trade impediments world-wide during the post-war period, this paper attempts to determine if, and when, countries experienced significant changes in the paths of their export-GDP and import-GDP ratios. We find that: (1) the time-paths of the trade ratios in most countries exhibit a structural break during the post-war period; (2) the extent of trade following the breaks exceeded the pre-break trade levels for the majority of countries; (3) the relationship between the timing of the break for imports and the timing of the break for exports is not particularly strong; and (4) there is little relation between the extent of the post-break to pre-break changes in imports and the post-break to pre-break changes in exports for most countries.