Earlier works derive empirical implications that institutional quality is very influential as a source of comparative advantage in industries requiring relationship-specific investment from the supplier. However, as earlier studies focus on investigating the impact of institution on the efficiency of the producer, only the exporter’s institution is considered. In contrast, we attempt to identify the impacts of the quality of institution, of both exporters and importers, on trade costs, that are different across country-pairs. To check the problem of measuring trade costs, we use two alternative measures of trade costs, i.e. CIF/FOB ratio and the relative measure of trade costs proposed by Novy (2013). Using the Eora global supply chain database covering 187 countries for 11 primary and manufacturing industries and four years, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015, we calculate a CIF/FOB ratio and the relative trade costs suggested by Novy (2013) which are used as a proxy variable for trade costs. At the country level, we find that the institutional quality of exporter and importer is negatively associated with trade costs and trade costs increase as disparity between two countries’ institutional quality increases. At the country-industry level, we find that a country-pair with better legal institution has lower trade costs in industries for which a hold-up problem is important. This result is robust to the alternative measure of trade costs suggested by Novy (2013). However, an analysis on the impact of institutional differences on trade costs yields mixed results. Therefore we do not conclude that the similarity of institutional quality between two countries is associated with lower bilateral trade costs.