A Measurement of Aggregate Trade Restrictions and their Economic Effects


Julia Estefania-Flores ; Davide Furceri ; . Swarnali A Hannan ; Jonathan David Ostry ; Andrew K. Rose

Publication Date:

January 7, 2022

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.


We develop a new Measure of Aggregate Trade Restrictions (MATR) using data from the IMF’s Annual Report on Exchange Arrangements and Exchange Restrictions. MATR is an empirical measure of how restrictive official government policy is towards the international flow of goods and services. MATR is simple, ad hoc, plausible, quantitative, easily updated, based solely on policy-relevant measures of trade policy, and covers an unbalanced sample of up to 157 countries annually between 1949 and 2019. MATR is strongly correlated with, but more comprehensive than, existing measures of openness and trade policy existing measures. We use MATR to show that trade restrictions are harmful for the economy and lead to significant contractions in output.


Working Paper No. 2022/001




Publication Date:

January 7, 2022



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