American University
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Trade agreements and enforcement

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posted on 2023-08-05, 10:41 authored by Chad P. (Chad Philips) Bown, 1972-, Kara ReynoldsKara Reynolds

This paper examines implications of the terms-of-trade theory for the determinants of outcomes arising under the enforcement provisions of international agreements. Like original trade agreement negotiations, formal trade dispute negotiations are modeled as potentially addressing the terms-of-trade externality problem that governments implement import protection above the globally-efficient level so as to shift some of the policy’s costs onto trading partners. The approach first extends the Bagwell and Staiger (1999, 2011) model from trade agreement accession negotiations to the setting of enforcement negotiations, and the resulting theory guides the empirical assessment. The model is estimated using instrumental variables on trade volume outcomes from WTO disputes over 1995-2009. The evidence is consistent with theoretical predictions that larger import volume outcomes are associated with products that have smaller increases to foreign exporter-received prices (terms-of-trade losses) as a result of the dispute, larger pre-dispute import volumes, larger import demand elasticities, and smaller foreign export supply elasticities. Dispute settlement outcome differences are also explained by variation in institutionally-motivated measures of retaliation capacity and the severity of the free rider problem associated with foreign exporter concentration.



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