DP5760 | Trade in Services, Trade Agreements and Economic Development: A Survey of the Literature

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17/07/2006

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Abstract

Since the mid 1980s a substantial amount of research has been undertaken on trade in services. Much of this is inspired by the WTO or regional trade agreements, especially the EU, but an increasing number of papers focus on the impacts of services sector liberalization. This paper surveys the literature, focusing on contributions that investigate the determinants of international trade and investment in services, the potential gains from greater trade (and liberalization) and efforts to cooperate to achieve such liberalization through trade agreements. There is increasing evidence that services liberalization is an important source of potential welfare gains, but relatively little research has been done that can inform the design of international cooperation - both trade agreements and development assistance - so as to more effectively promote development objectives.