Do regional trade agreements affect agri‐food trade? Evidence from a meta‐analysis

Sylvanus Kwaku Afesorgbor*, Dela-Dem Doe Fiankor, Binyam Afewerk Demena

*Corresponding author for this work

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Regional trade agreements (RTAs) have experienced significant growth worldwide, leading to an increase in studies assessing their impact on bilateral trade flows. With the availability of disaggregated trade data, numerous studies have examined the influence of these agreements specifically on agri‐food trade. However, the results of these studies exhibit heterogeneity, posing challenges for policymakers seeking to understand the effects of RTAs on agri‐food trade. To address this issue, we conducted a meta‐analysis of 61 studies investigating the effects of various RTAs on agri‐food trade. Using funnel asymmetric testing, our analysis reveals the presence of publication bias in the existing literature. By accounting for this bias, we found robust evidence that RTAs positively and significantly promote agri‐food trade. Notably, the extent of this effect depends on the depth of economic integration within the RTA, distinguishing between customs unions and free trade agreements, as well as the classification of agri‐food products as primary or processed. The ex‐post effects of RTAs on agri‐food trade are less pronounced when we control for both publication bias and heterogeneity, compared to controlling only for publication bias.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-759
Number of pages23
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

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© 2023 The Authors. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Agricultural & Applied Economics Association.


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