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Unilateralism in a Multilateral World

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  • Wilfred J. Ethier

    (University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

This paper addresses the interplay between unilateralism and multilateralism. I describe their stylised facts and present a simple, multi-country model with high initial tariffs and features that have always been of paramount concern to policy makers, and allow governments to negotiate multilateral agreements. I then find a role for a system with features remarkably similar to contemporary unilateralism. The relationships between multilateralism and unilateralism are subtle: Unilateralism has the properties it has because the world is multilateral (the "insurance" "triangle"); useful unilateralism requires a "multilateral" "component" resulting from a "compatibility problem" between those who negotiate multilaterally and those who establish unilateralism. Copyright 2002 Royal Economic Society

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 112 (2002)
Issue (Month): 479 (April)
Pages: 266-292

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:112:y:2002:i:479:p:266-292

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  1. Staiger, Robert W., 1995. "International rules and institutions for trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1495-1551 Elsevier.
  2. Ethier, Wilfred J., 2001. "Theoretical problems in negotiating trade liberalization," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 209-232, June.
  3. K.C. Fung & Robert W. Staiger, 1994. "Trade Liberalization and Trade Adjustment Assistance," NBER Working Papers 4847, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Robert E. Baldwin & Jeffrey W. Steagall, 1993. "An Analysis of Factors Influencing ITC Decisions in Antidumoing, Countervailing Duty and Safeguard Cases," NBER Working Papers 4282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1997. "An Economic Theory of GATT," NBER Working Papers 6049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1988. "A Theory of Managed Trade," NBER Working Papers 2756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kala Krishna, 1985. "Trade Restrictions as Facilitating Practices," NBER Working Papers 1546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jonathan Eaton & Gene M. Grossman, 1985. "Tariffs as Insurance: Optimal Commercial Policy When Domestic Markets Are Incomplete," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(2), pages 258-72, May.
  9. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Trade and Insurance with Adverse Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 235-47, April.
  10. Hillman, Arye L, 1982. "Declining Industries and Political-Support Protectionist Motives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1180-87, December.
  11. Richard Harris, 1984. "Why Voluntary Export Restraints are 'Voluntary'," Working Papers 559, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Staiger, Robert W & Tabellini, Guido, 1987. "Discretionary Trade Policy and Excessive Protection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 823-37, December.
  13. Bagwell,K. & Staiger,R.W., 1999. "Multilateral trade negotiations, bilateral opportunism and the rules of GATT," Working papers 6, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  14. Ethier, W.J. & Horn, H., 1993. "Results-Oriented Trade Policy," ISER Discussion Paper 0304, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  15. Hillman, Arye L, 1990. " Protectionist Policies as the Regulation of International Industry," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 67(2), pages 101-10, November.
  16. Baldwin, Robert E & Steagall, Jeffrey W., 1994. "An Analysis of US International Trade Commission Decisions in Antidumping, Countervailing Duty and Safeguard Cases," CEPR Discussion Papers 990, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Bruce A. Blonigen & Thomas J. Prusa, 2001. "Antidumping," NBER Working Papers 8398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Dixit, Avinash, 1987. "Trade and insurance with moral hazard," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 201-220, November.
  19. Wilfred J. Ethier, 1998. "Regionalism in a Multilateral World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1214-1245, December.
  20. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1998. "The New Regionalism," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(449), pages 1149-61, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Richard Baldwin, 2006. "Multilateralising Regionalism: Spaghetti Bowls as Building Blocs on the Path to Global Free Trade," NBER Working Papers 12545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Peter Neary & Ainars S¡lesers & Edward G. Krubasik & John M. Weekes, 2003. "Advancing Global Trade: Pro Liberalisation and Development," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 4(2), pages 52-67, October.
  3. Meredith A. Crowley, 2002. "Do safeguard tariffs and antidumping duties open or close technology gaps?," Working Paper Series WP-02-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Appelbaum, Elie & Melatos, Mark, 2012. "How Does Uncertainty Affect the Choice of Trade Agreements?," Working Papers 2012-08, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  5. Horn, Henrik & Mavroidis, Petros C, 2001. "Economic and Legal Aspects of the Most Favoured Nation Clause," CEPR Discussion Papers 2859, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Richard Baldwin, 2010. "Unilateral Tariff Liberalisation," NBER Working Papers 16600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hillman, Arye L., 2003. "Trade Liberalization and Globalization: A Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 3845, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. James C. Hartigan & Hylke Vandenbussche, 2010. "Why does the WTO have an Antidumping Agreement?," LICOS Discussion Papers 25310, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  9. J Peter Neary, 2003. "Europe on the Road to Doha - Towards a New Global Trade Round," Working Papers 200317, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  10. Meredith Crowley, 2006. "Why are safeguards needed in a trade agreement?," Working Paper Series WP-06-06, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  11. Elie Appelbaum & Mark Melatos, 2014. "Option Values and the Choice of Trade Agreements," Working Papers 2014_1, York University, Department of Economics.
  12. Mehari Mekonnen Akalu, 2002. "Measuring and Ranking Value Drivers," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-043/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  13. Meredith A. Crowley, 2003. "An introduction to the WTO and GATT," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 42-57.
  14. Hillman, Arye L., 2003. "Departure from Free Trade: A Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 3707, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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