in: Review of Development Economics 23 (3), 1347-1367
Have regional trade agreements (RTAs) improved market access conditions for developing countries? Employing a measure expressing effective tariff margins and using disaggregated panel data for a sample of 45 developing country exporters, 60 export destinations, and the period between 1991 and 2015, it is shown that this question can generally be answered in the affirmative. Although the effect is estimated to be moderate, RTAs might thus be an important long‐run building block in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to increase developing countries’ participation in world trade. On closer inspection, however, for the countries included in the sample, there is considerable variation depending on the choice of integration partners and economic sectors. More specifically, market access improvements cannot be found for African economies in South–South agreements and developing countries engaging formally with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or the Republic of Korea, while leading industrialized nations are reluctant to grant improved market access to developing countries in RTAs especially in capital‐intensive (high‐productivity) manufacturing sectors.