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The Role of Multilateral Institutions in International Trade Cooperation

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  • Giovanni Maggi

Abstract

The World Trade Organization (WFO) lacks the power to directly enforce agreements. It is, therefore, important to understand what role the WTO can play to facilitate international cooperation and whether a multilateral institution can offer distinct advantages over a web of bilateral agreements. This paper examines two potential benefits of a multilateral trade institution: first, verifying violations of the agreements and informing third parties, thus facilitating multilateral reputation mechanisms; second, promoting multilateral trade negotiations rather than a web of bilateral negotiations. The model suggests that a multilateral approach is particularly important when there are strong imbalances in bilateral trading relationships.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.89.1.190
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 89 (1999)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 190-214

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:89:y:1999:i:1:p:190-214

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.89.1.190
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  1. Bhagwati, Jagdish, 1990. "Departures from Multilateralism: Regionalism and Aggressive Unilateralism," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1304-17, December.
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  7. Greif, Avner & Milgrom, Paul & Weingast, Barry R, 1994. "Coordination, Commitment, and Enforcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 745-76, August.
  8. Baldwin, Richard, 1987. "Politically realistic objective functions and trade policy PROFs and tariffs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 287-290.
  9. Douglas Bernheim, B. & Ray, Debraj, 1989. "Collective dynamic consistency in repeated games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 295-326, December.
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