The Impact of Trade Liberalization on the Trade Balance in Developing Countries


Yi Wu ; Li Zeng

Publication Date:

January 1, 2008

Electronic Access:

Free Download. Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate


Using two recently constructed measures of trade liberalization dates, this research studies the impact of trade liberalization on imports, exports, and overall trade balance for a large sample of developing countries. We find strong and consistent evidence that trade liberalization leads to higher imports and exports. However, in contrast Santos-Paulino and Thirwall (2004) who find a robustly negative impact of trade liberalization on the overall trade balance, we only find mixed evidence of such a negative impact. In particular, we find little evidence of a statistically significant negative impact using our first measure of liberalization dates which extends Li (2004). Using a second measure of liberalization dates compiled by Wacziarg and Welch (2003), we find some evidence that liberalization worsens the trade balance, but the evidence is not robust across different estimation specifications, and the estimated impact is smaller than that reported by Santos-Paulino and Thirwall (2004).


Working Paper No. 08/14



Publication Date:

January 1, 2008



Stock No:






Please address any questions about this title to