Externally funded trade policy reforms and firm productivity : Evidence from a world database of reforms funded by foreign aid agencies

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-222
Journal / PublicationKyklos
Issue number2
Online published25 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


This paper examines the impact of externally funded trade policy reforms on firm productivity by combining data from the International Aid Transparency Initiative and World Bank Enterprise Surveys. By specifying baseline and end-line surveys based on the 2006 to 2020 World Bank Enterprise Surveys, we find that 70 of 83 countries received external funds for trade policy reforms, and primarily use records based on 45,886 firms with data on productivity across these countries. Applying difference-in-differences and triple-difference techniques, this paper finds that the impact of externally funded trade policy reforms is significant, accounting for 12% of firms' average productivity growth in the recipient countries relative to firms in non-recipient countries. We also show that externally funded trade policy reforms improve firms' international-trade-climate in the recipient countries by 0.17 standard deviations, which translates into a 27% increase in the average productivity of firms with a good international-trade-climate in recipient countries over that of firms in non-recipient countries and firms with poor international trade climate in recipient countries. These results suggest that interventions should focus on financing trade policy reforms that are more likely to improve the international-trade-climate of firms in the recipient countries. © 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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