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Do Countries Free Ride on MFN?

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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 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. Classification-JEL Codes: F13, D7

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~05-05-13.

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Date of creation: 13 May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~05-05-13

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Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Phone: 202-687-6074
Fax: 202-687-6102
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Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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Postal: Marcia Suss Administrative Officer Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Web: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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Keywords: Most-Favored Nation (MFN) clause; free riding; Principal supplier rule;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2004. "Backward Stealing and Forward Manipulation in the WTO," NBER Working Papers 10420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. repec:van:wpaper:13-00002 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Rodney Ludema and Ann Maria Mayda, 2008. "Do Countries Free Ride on MFN?," Working Papers gueconwpa~08-08-04, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Kamal Saggi & Nuno Limao, 2011. "Size Inequality, Coordination Externalities and International Trade Agreements," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 1115, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  6. Ludema, Rodney D & Mayda, Anna Maria, 2010. "Do terms-of-trade effects matter for trade agreements? Evidence from WTO countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 7695, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2009. "The WTO: Theory and Practice," NBER Working Papers 15445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Spearot, Alan C., 2013. "Variable demand elasticities and tariff liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 26-41.
  10. 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.

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