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On the determinants of trade in services: evidence from the MENA region

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This article examines the determinants of aggregate flows of service trade in MENA countries using an adapted version of the gravity model and a panel data set covering the 2000 to 2009 period for 21 countries and 10 sectors. A new determinant of trade performance is introduced: the number of bound commitments undertaken by a sector in the WTO as well as the availability of those commitments by mode of supply. The results show that being a WTO member boosts trade in services. In addition, the number of bound commitments increases exports, imports and trade in services. This positive and significant effect remains robust even after controlling for several econometric issues, namely, the selection bias related to the WTO membership and the endogeneity of commitments.1

We are grateful to the editor Mark Taylor and two anonymous referees for providing valuable comments and suggestions. We would also like to thank the participants to the ERF 18th Annual Conference and to the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Middle East Economic Association (MEEA). This work benefited from the financial support of Economics Research Forum (ERF). It does not reflect the Forum’s opinion.

Keywords: F10; F12; F13; MENA region; WTO commitments; gravity models; trade in services

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Gulf University for Science and Technology, Kuwait 2: Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University, Egypt

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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