Trade in services is often hampered by domestic administrative barriers, even when countries are members of the same regional trade agreement. We exploit a large reform in the European Union (the EU Service Directive) targeted to reduce such administrative hurdles in cross-border service provision to estimate its effects on service trade. We employ a difference-in-difference strategy and a Pseudo Poisson Maximum Likelihood (PPML) panel approach to estimate gravity equations with multiple high-dimensional fixed effects. On average, the reform increased intra-EU trade in targeted services by about 40%. This effect of the reform on trade volume is corroborated by several robustness and placebo checks. Finally, a disaggregated analysis reveals significant differences between countries and service sectors.
Service trade trade liberalisation gravity equation