Economic Effects of Standard-Like Nontariff Measures: Analytical and Methodological Dimensions

John C. Beghin, Bo Xiong
October 2016  [16-WP 569]

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Beghin, J.C. and B. Xiong. 2016. "Economic Effects of Standard-Like Nontariff Measures: Analytical and Methodological Dimensions." Working paper 16-WP 569. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University.


We provide a selective review of the empirical international trade literature on nontariff measures (NTMs) acting like standards–the so-called technical measures under the MAST classification. This review focuses on analytical and methodological dimensions involved in evaluating these NTMs and their economic effects, and draws from established approaches to measure standard-like NTMs and rigorous models used to quantify their effects on trade and welfare. The quantification of technical measures and the assessment of their effects are often entangled. We present each of these major approaches and methodologies with some formalism and details to help guide future investigations of technical measures select a suitable approach for their empirical strategy. An annex contains a more advanced technical formulation for interested readers. We also identify respective and potential pitfalls of each approach and methodology. Promising research directions are suggested for further work quantifying and assessing the economic effects of standard-like NTMs.