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Do countries free ride on MFN?

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  • Ludema, Rodney D.
  • Mayda, Anna Maria

Abstract

The Most-Favored Nation (MFN) clause has long been suspected of creating a free rider problem in multilateral trade negotiations. To address this issue, we model multilateral negotiations as a mechanism design problem with voluntary participation. We show that an optimal mechanism induces only the largest exporters to participate in negotiations over any product, thus providing a rationalization for the Principal supplier rule. We also show that, through this channel, equilibrium tariffs vary according to the Herfindahl-Hirschman index of export shares: higher concentration in a sector reduces free riding and thus causes a lower tariff. Estimation of our model using sector-level tariff data for the U.S. provides strong support for this relationship.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 77 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 137-150

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:77:y:2009:i:2:p:137-150

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W., 2010. "Backward stealing and forward manipulation in the WTO," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 49-62, September.
  2. Ludema, Rodney D & Mayda, Anna Maria, 2005. "Do Countries Free Ride on MFN?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5160, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Limão, Nuno & Saggi, Kamal, 2013. "Size inequality, coordination externalities and international trade agreements," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 10-27.
  4. Ludema, Rodney D & Mayda, Anna Maria & Mishra, Prachi, 2010. "Protection for Free? The Political Economy of U.S. Tariff Suspensions," CEPR Discussion Papers 7926, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. repec:van:wpaper:13-00002 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2009. "The WTO: Theory and Practice," NBER Working Papers 15445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Nuno Limão & Patricia Tovar, 2009. "Policy Choice: Theory and Evidence from Commitment via International Trade Agreements," NBER Working Papers 14655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Spearot, Alan C., 2013. "Variable demand elasticities and tariff liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 26-41.
  9. Joanne Gowa & Raymond Hicks, 2012. "The most-favored nation rule in principle and practice: Discrimination in the GATT," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 247-266, September.
  10. Rodney D. Ludema & Anna Maria Mayda, 2010. "Do Terms-of-Trade Effects Matter for Trade Agreements? Evidence from WTO Countries," Development Working Papers 293, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.

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