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Impact of the institutional quality on NAFTA's international trade: a system GMM approach

Yoon Heo, Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen and Nguyen Khanh Doanh

Journal of Economic Studies, 2020, vol. 48, issue 3, 537-556

Abstract: Purpose - This paper aims to analyze the impacts of institutional quality on trade flows of NAFTA with a panel data set of 105 countries spanning the period 2006–2017. Design/methodology/approach - We applied the system generalized method of moment (GMM) estimator to investigate the impacts. Findings - The results show that institutional quality is a positive and significant determinant of international trade flows of the NAFTA bloc and its trading partners. Our results also indicate that the impact of institutional quality depends on the level of economic development of NAFTA's trading partners. Specifically, the trade elasticity of institutional quality is the highest for NAFTA’s trade with middle-income countries and the lowest for NAFTA's trade with low-income countries. In the long run, the trade elasticity of institutional quality increased significantly, with the highest increase in the case of NAFTA's trade with medium-income countries and the lowest increase in the case of NAFTA's trade with low-income countries. Originality/value - This study contributes to the existing literature in three different ways. First, we examine the differential impact of institutions on NAFTA's trade according to the level of economic development of NAFTA's trading partners. Second, we compare the differential trade elasticity of institutional quality in the long run. Finally, we support our findings through an improved research methodology by using the system GMM estimation. This method allows us to overcome the potential sample bias, omitted variable problems and endogeneity of explanatory variables.

Keywords: Institutional quality; Trade flows; Economic development; NAFTA; System GMM; F13; F14; F63 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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