The design of international trade agreements: Introducing a new dataset
by Andreas Dür, Leonardo Baccini, Manfred Elsig
Preferential trade agreements (PTAs) have been proliferating for the last twenty years. A large literature has studied various aspects of this phenomenon. Until recently, however, many large-N studies have paid only scant attention to variation across PTAs in terms of content and design. Our contribution to this literature is a new dataset on the design of trade agreements that is the most comprehensive in terms of both variables coded and agreements covered. We illustrate the dataset’s usefulness in re-visiting the questions if and to what extent PTAs impact trade flows. The analysis shows that on average PTAs increase trade flows, but that this effect is largely driven by deep agreements. In addition, we provide evidence that provisions that tackle behind-the-border regulation matter for trade flows. The dataset’s contribution is not limited to the PTA literature, however. Broader debates on topics such as institutional design and the legalization of international relations will also benefit from the novel data.