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Bilateralism, multilateralism, and the quest for global free trade

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  • Saggi, Kamal
  • Yildiz, Halis Murat

Abstract

We develop an equilibrium theory of trade agreements in which both the degree and the nature (bilateral or multilateral) of trade liberalization are endogenously determined. To determine whether and how bilateralism matters, we also analyze a scenario where countries pursue trade liberalization on only a multilateral basis. We find that when countries have asymmetric endowments or when governments value producer interests more than tariff revenue and consumer surplus, there exist circumstances where global free trade is a stable equilibrium only if countries are free to pursue bilateral trade agreements. By contrast, under symmetry, both bilateralism and multilateralism yield global free trade.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 81 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 26-37

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:81:y:2010:i:1:p:26-37

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

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Keywords: Bilateral trade agreements Multilateral trade liberalization Free trade agreements GATT;

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References

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  1. Kamal Saggi, Halis Murat Yildiz, 2009. "Optimal tariffs of preferential trade agreements and the tariff complementarity effect," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 2(1), pages 5-17, April.
  2. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1997. "Regionalism and Multilateral Tariff Cooperation," NBER Working Papers 5921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Antoni Estevadeordal & Caroline Freund & Emanuel Ornelas, 2008. "Does Regionalism Affect Trade Liberalization Towards Non-Members?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0868, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Ludema, Rodney D., 2002. "Increasing returns, multinationals and geography of preferential trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 329-358, March.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2007. "Negotiating free trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 1-30, September.
  6. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W, 1997. "Multilateral Tariff Cooperation during the Formation of Free Trade Areas," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(2), pages 291-319, May.
  7. Pravin Krishna, 1998. "Regionalism And Multilateralism: A Political Economy Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 227-250, February.
  8. Emanuel Ornelas, 2005. "Rent Destruction and the Political Viability of Free Trade Agreements," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1475-1506, November.
  9. Dutta, Bhaskar & Mutuswami, Suresh, 1997. "Stable Networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 322-344, October.
    • Dutta, Bhaskar & Mutuswami, Suresh, 1996. "Stable Networks," Working Papers 971, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  10. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
  11. Ornelas, Emanuel, 2005. "Endogenous free trade agreements and the multilateral trading system," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 471-497, December.
  12. Bond, Eric W & Syropoulos, Costas & Winters, L. Alan, 2000. "Deepening of Regional Integration and Multilateral Trade Agreements," CEPR Discussion Papers 2480, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Saggi, Kamal & Yildiz, Halis Murat, 2008. "Bilateral trade agreements and the feasibility of multilateral free trade," MPRA Paper 17561, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 26 Jun 2009.
  14. Freund, Caroline, 2000. "Multilateralism and the endogenous formation of preferential trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 359-376, December.
  15. Kamal Saggi, 2006. "Preferential Trade Agreements And Multilateral Tariff Cooperation ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 29-57, 02.
  16. Taiji Furusawa & Hideo Konishi, 2002. "Free Trade Networks," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 548, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 08 Sep 2003.
  17. Raymond Riezman, 1999. "Can Bilateral Trade Agreements Help Induce Free Trade?," CSGR Working papers series 44/99, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR), University of Warwick.
  18. Jackson, Matthew O. & Wolinsky, Asher, 1996. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 44-74, October.
  19. Levy, Philip I, 1997. "A Political-Economic Analysis of Free-Trade Agreements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 506-19, September.
  20. Goyal, S. & Joshi, S., 1999. "Bilateralism and free trade," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 9953-/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Juyoung Cheong & Do Won Kwak & Kam Ki Tang, 2014. "Can Trade Agreements Curtail Trade Creation and Prevent Trade Diversion," Discussion Papers Series 500, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  2. James Lake & Halis M. Yildiz, 2014. "On the different geographic characteristics of Free Trade Agreements and Customs Unions," Departmental Working Papers 1403, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  3. Ornelas, Emanuel, 2012. "Preferential Trade Agreements and the Labor Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 8805, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Nuno Limão & Kamal Saggi, 2013. "Size Inequality, Coordination Externalities and International Trade Agreements," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00013, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  5. repec:van:wpaper:13-00002 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Kamal Saggi & Alan Woodland & Halis Murat Yildiz, 2011. "On the Relationship between Preferential and Multilateral Trade Liberalization: The Case of Customs Unions," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 1116, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  7. Ben Zissimos, 2011. "Why are Trade Agreements Regional?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 32-45, 02.
  8. Yildiz, Halis Murat, 2011. "Hub and spoke trade agreements under oligopoly with asymmetric costs," MPRA Paper 34964, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Mavroidis, Petros C., 2011. "Always look at the bright side of non-delivery: WTO and Preferential Trade Agreements, yesterday and today," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(03), pages 375-387, July.
  10. Demet Yilmazkuday & Hakan Yilmazkuday, 2014. "Bilateral versus Multilateral Free Trade Agreements: A Welfare Analysis," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 513-535, 08.
  11. Noritsugu Nakanishi, 2011. "Farsightedly Stable FTA Structures," Discussion Papers 1114, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
  12. Jin Zhang & Licun Xue & Lei Zu, 2013. "Farsighted free trade networks," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 375-398, May.
  13. Nigar Hashimzade & Hassan Khodavaisi & Gareth Myles, 2011. "MFN Status and the Choice of Tariff Regime," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 22(5), pages 847-874, November.

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