2 Feb 2016
MILE 02, Anirudh Shingal
Exploring intra-commonwealth goods and services trade
A background paper for the Commonwealth Secretariat by Anirudh Shingal and Mohammad Razzaque: Existing work examining the trade effect of commonwealth membership does not account for sample selection, unobserved heterogeneity and multilateral resistance in estimation, leading to biased estimates. Our analyses improve on all these fronts. Unlike earlier work, we also consider services trade and assemble a much larger sample of trading partners (242 x 242, over 1995-2010). Commonwealth membership is found to increase goods exports by 18.5-33.2% and services exports by 42.8% in our results, ceteris paribus and on average. Our analyses on the determinants of intra-commonwealth trade suggest the positive role of common language (only for goods trade) and colonial relationships as well as the negative impact of geography, thereby confirming that commonwealth member states are not natural trading partners for each other. Finally, being one of Australia, Canada or the UK is associated with 98.2% greater merchandise trade than the commonwealth average; however, a similar effect is not observed for services trade.