Jelena Dimovski, Vladimir Radivojević, Gabrijela Mitić

DOI Number
First page
Last page


Given the developments in economic theory so far, the European Union (EU) accession process is believed to bring significant benefits to newcomers, especially in terms of fostering their economic growth, which is induced by abolishing import tariffs and other trade barriers, intensifying trade flows and ensuring a more efficient usage of resources. Although empirical evidence on these correlations is mixed, many in the new EU member states and in candidate countries hope that EU membership will pave the way towards their economic prosperity, which would ensure a meaningful reduction in the income gap between new and old EU members. Accordingly, trade liberalisation, which implies lower transaction costs, increased specialisation, scale economy, and competitive pressures, has become a priority, especially for the accessing economies which are traditionally less open in comparison to the economies which first joined the EU. This study aims to assess the impact of trade openness, measured through the dynamics of exports and imports, on the economic growth of the last three member countries to join the EU (Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia) by employing panel data for the period before and after their accession (1997-2017). The results of the study confirm the expansion of the sample countries’ trade flows after the accession, as well as a positive correlation between the dynamics of trade flows and gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Still, it can be concluded that the exploitation of the positive effects of trade openness is conditioned by the level of the countries’ pre-accession economic progress and other determining variables.


international trade, economic growth, market liberalisation, transition economies

Full Text:



Alonso Oscar (2001). The Impact of International Trade on Economic Growth, University of Porto, Faculty of Economics

Andersen and Babula (2008). The Link Between Openness and Long-Run Economic Growth, Journal of International Commerce and Economics

Arjan M. Lejour, Vladimir Solanic, Paul J.G. Tang (2006). EU accession and income growth: An empirical approach, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis

Badinger (2001). Growth Effects of Economic Integration: Evidence from the EU Member States, Review of World Economics.

Baldwin and Seghezza (1996). Trade – Induced Investment – Led Growth, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge

Bakari S. and Mabrouki M. (2017). Impact Of Exports And Imports On Economic Growth: New Evidence From Panama, Journal of Smart Economic Growth, , vol. 2(1), 67-79.

Barro (2003). Determinants of Economic Growth in a Panel of Countries, Annals of Economics and Finance.

Ben-David and Kimhi (2000). Trade and the Rate of Income Convergence, Journal of International Trade & Economic Development

Brada and Mendez (1988). An Estimate of the Dynamic Effects of Economic Integration, The Review of Economics and statistics

Brodzicki (2003). In search for accumulative effects of European economic integration, University of Gdansk

Bugarčić, F. & Veselinović, P. (2020). Openness of the economy as a determinant of economic growth: the panes analysis of the Western Balkans region countries. Economic Outlook, 22(2), pp. 1-14.

Crespo-Cuaresma (2002). Growth, convergence and EU membership, Applied Economics

Dohrn, Milton and Radmacher-Nottelmann, (2001). The Expansion of the EU: Between Hope and Fear, Royal Van Gorcum, Assen

Edwards (1997). Openness, Productivity and Growth: What Do We Really Know?, National Bureau of economic Research

Fetahi-Vehapi (2015). Empirical Analysis of the Effects of Trade Openness on Economic Growth: An Evidence for South East European Countries, Procedia, Economics and Finance

Haveman (2001). International Integration and Growth: A Survey and Empirical Investigation, Federal Trade Commission, Washington

Humpage (2000). Do imports hinder or help economic growth?, Economic Commentary

Italianer (1994). Whither the Gains from European Economic Integration?, Revue économique

Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner (1995). Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration, Harward University, Faculty of Economics

Landau (1995). Defense Expenditure and economic Growth, Handbook of Defense Economics

Lee (1995). How Does Foreign Direct Investment Affect Economic Growth?, Journal of International Economics

Mihuţ, Ioana S., and Mihaela Luţaş (2014). Sustainable Growth: Recent Trends Across Central and Eastern European Economies, Annals of the University of Oradea, Economic Science Series 23(1): 175-186.

Nugent (2004). Economic Growth and Income Convergence: Impact of European Integration, Hanbook of Development Economics

Romer (1990). Endogenous Technological Change, Journal of Political Economy

Shirazi & Manap (2005). Export – Led Growth Hypothesis: Further Econometric evidence from South Asia, The Developing Economies

Skare, M. & Rabar, D. (2017). Measuring Sources of Economic Growth in OECD, Inzinerine Ekonomika-Engineering Economics, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 386–400

Soldic-Aleksic, J. (2015). Applied Data Analysis, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Economics

Vanhoudt (1999). Did the European unification induce economic growth? In search of scale effects and persistent changes, Review of the World Economics

Viner Jacob (1950). The Custom Union Issue, New York: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Wacziarg and Welch (2003). Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence, World Bank Economic Review

World Economic Forum,

World Bank,



  • There are currently no refbacks.

© University of Niš, Serbia
Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND
Print ISSN: 0353-7919
Online ISSN: 1820-7804