The effects of institutions on the relationship between politics and trade

Crawford School of Public Policy
Photo by Markus Krisetya on Unsplash

Event details

ACDE Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 14 June 2022


Weston Theatre and Zoom


Shiro Armstrong and Samuel Hardwick, Australian National University

This paper examines the relationship between trade and the ups and downs of political relations between countries, and how institutional arrangements might affect that relationship. An index of ‘political distance’ between countries is constructed using high-frequency events data. After showing that monthly data, rather than quarterly or annual data, better reflects the time horizon of political shocks to trade, we estimate a set of structural gravity models using monthly panel data. We find that WTO membership, democratic political systems and strong domestic governance institutions are associated with a reduced impact of political vagaries on trade between countries. Joint WTO membership is associated with a weaker relationship between politics and trade, including for non-democratic trading partners. This WTO effect is stronger when recent years (2017 to 2021) characterised by global trade uncertainty are excluded from the sample.

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