Ethical Distance and Difference in Bilateral Trade

Bala Ramasamy (First Author), Matthew C.H. Yeung (Participant Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal


Cultural, institutional, and psychic distances between countries are critical determinants of bilateral trade. In this paper we examine if ethical distance and difference between an exporting country and an importing country matter in international trade. Ethics in international trade is important because purchasing, exports, marketing and sales activities are more likely to involve unethical behaviors like bribery and corruption. The focus of the paper is on the similarities and differences in ethical behaviors between a trade dyad (an importing and an exporting country). We ask if variations in perceived ethics among the protagonists help or hinder bilateral trade. More specifically, we examine if countries that are ethical trade more or less with other similar countries. Using data from 53 countries that participated in the World Values Survey, we show that the closer the ethical distance between countries the greater the trade. We also find that the ethicality of importers matter more than exporters as a determinant of bilateral trade.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-441
JournalThe Journal of World Investment & Trade
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Cultural Distance
  • Determinants of International Trade
  • Ethical Difference
  • Ethical Distance
  • Ethics

Indexed by

  • ABDC-A
  • Scopus


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