The Evolution and Utilization of the GATT/WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism
AbstractThis paper attempts to study the usage of the GATT/WTO dispute settlement mechanism and to explain its patterns across different regimes and decades, using a unified theoretical model. This study first explores the role of the degree of legal controversy over a panel ruling in determining countries' incentives to block/appeal a panel report under the GATT/WTO regime. The model is able to explain the surge in blocking incidence during the 1980s over the preceding GATT years and the immense frequency at which the new appellate procedure under the WTO is invoked. Furthermore, a two-sided asymmetric information framework is used to study the effects of political power on countries' incentives to use, and interactions in using, the GATT/WTO dispute settlement mechanism. It is shown that the magnitude of the political cost relative to the potential benefit that the complainant stands to gain when using this mechanism determines the pattern of filing activity and the frequency of various procedural outcomes. This result, when confronted with the statistics on disputes in different decades of the GATT regime, provides us an indicator of how well the dispute procedure has worked during various decades, in terms of how much this procedure has been subject to potential power politics.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan in its series Working Papers with number 475.
Length: 41 Pages
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
GATT/WTO; dispute settlement;
Other versions of this item:
- Pao-li Chang, 2007. "The Evolution and Utilization of the GATT/WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism," Trade Working Papers 22062, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
- F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order; Noneconomic International Organizations;; Economic Integration and Globalization: General
- F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
- K33 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - International Law
- K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
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