DP3659 | Do WTO Members have More Liberal Trade Policy?

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20/11/2002

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Abstract

This Paper uses 67 measures of trade policy and trade liberalization to ask if membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its predecessor the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is associated with more liberal trade policy. Almost no measures of trade policy are significantly correlated with GATT/WTO membership. Trade liberalizations, when they occur, usually lag GATT entry by many years, and the GATT/WTO often admits countries that are closed and remain closed for years. The exception to the negative rule is that WTO members tend to have slightly more freedom as judged by the Heritage Foundation?s index of economic freedom.