Investment Liberalization, Credit Constraints, and International Trade

ID: 4101
School: School of Civic Leadership, Business, and Social Change
Program: Government
Status: Completed
Start date: December 2019
End Date: June 2021


This paper investigates the effect of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) on the extensive and intensive product margins of exports in sectors with different credit constraints. The model in this paper demonstrates that such investment liberalization increases the extensive product margin by lowering the variable costs of selling abroad, while it decreases the intensive product margin by lowering both the fixed investment costs and the variable costs. Moreover, the effects of investment liberalization are stronger in financially more vulnerable sectors. Using a detailed dataset of 190 countries and 27 manufacturing sectors from 1988 to 2006, this paper furnishes robust evidence that BITs increase the extensive margin of exports from developed countries and decrease the intensive margin of exports. It further shows that BITs decrease the intensive margin of exports from developed countries more in the sectors that are more dependent on external finance. Similarly, the intensive margin of exports from developed countries in low tangibility sectors falls by 11.81% because of BITs, while the intensive margin in high tangibility sectors is quite stable with BITs.

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