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International Integration, Trade, and the Great Recession

Cephas Naanwaab and Johnson Antwi

International Economic Journal, 2019, vol. 33, issue 1, 128-148

Abstract: In the wake of the Great Recession, almost all countries suffered a severe and synchronized trade collapse unlike any seen since the Great Depression. To the extent that economic integration fosters trade among countries, this paper examines the role that international integration played in moderating the negative shock caused by the Great Recession on trade. The methodology adopted is a modified gravity model in which we control for the Great Recession, different forms of integration, as well as the interaction between integration and the recession. Measuring integration in three different ways, the findings show that countries that were more integrated fared better in trade – the extent of trade collapse was milder – than less integrated countries. Specifically, Regional Trade Agreement, as a form of trade integration, had a positive and robust effect on trade during the Great Recession. This positive effect is also robust across regions and countries around the world. In a nutshell, countries that are into some form of trade agreements are better-positioned to absorb negative demand-side shocks caused by economic recessions than similar countries without such agreements.

Date: 2019
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