Trade policy barriers and high transaction costs hinder developing countries from taking the full advantages of the global trading system. In order to help developing countries overcome the problem, the World Trade Organization (WTO) launched the Aid for Trade (AFT) initiatives in its Ministerial Conference held in Hong Kong in 2005. We examine the effects of AFT inflows on bilateral trade costs facing 133 developing countries while accounting for differences in their location on the contours of various measures of institutional quality. Our results from the estimation of a mixed effects (random-intercept and random-coefficient) model indicate that institutional quality significantly affects the extent to which AFT reduces bilateral trade costs. An important policy implication of our findings is that an economically robust and sustainable reduction in bilateral trade costs facing developing countries requires the presence of both promulgated and effectively functioning institutions such as regulatory power and the rule of law.
- aid for trade
- mixed-effects model