Besides facilitating access to the world market, WTO accession negotiations entail a process of domestic reforms that are expected to improve the supply side of acceding economies. However, measuring the actual impact of accession remains an empirical debate. The present paper contributes to the issue by offering a novel measure of the specific commitments made during the negotiations. These commitments often trigger a series of domestic structural transformations that are expected to impact economic growth. The accession commitment index proposed in the paper reflects the heterogenous distribution of commitments undertaken by Article XII members. This index is used to conduct a thorough statistical exploration of the effect of WTO accession on a series of variables related to economic growth, such as trade and investment. The results show that the impact of WTO membership on the Trade/GDP ratio is significantly higher than previous studies had found for developing countries, both quantitively and qualitatively. The results on investment, be it foreign or domestic, are also encouraging, but are not fully conclusive.
WTO Accession Article XII synthetic index exploratory data analysis