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Backward Stealing and Forward Manipulation in the WTO

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  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Robert W. Staiger

Abstract

Motivated by the structure of WTO negotiations, we analyze a bargaining environment in which negotiations proceed bilaterally and sequentially under the most-favored-nation (MFN) principle. We identify backward-stealing and forward-manipulation problems that arise when governments bargain under the MFN principle in a sequential fashion. We show that these problems impede governments from achieving the multilateral efficiency frontier unless further rules of negotiation are imposed. We identify the WTO nullification-or-impairment and renegotiation provisions and its reciprocity norm as rules that are capable of providing solutions to these problems. In this way, we suggest that WTO rules can facilitate the negotiation of efficient multilateral trade agreements in a world in which the addition of new and economically significant countries to the world trading system is an ongoing process.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10420.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10420

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  1. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W., 2005. "Erratum to Multilateral trade negotiations, bilateral opportunism and the rules of GATT/WTO," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 268-294, December.
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  4. Karacaovali, Baybars & Limão, Nuno, 2008. "The clash of liberalizations: Preferential vs. multilateral trade liberalization in the European Union," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 299-327, March.
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  13. Ludema, Rodney D. & Mayda, Anna Maria, 2009. "Do countries free ride on MFN?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 137-150, April.
  14. Eric Bond & Stephen Ching & Edwin L. C. Lai, 2000. "Accession Rules and Trade Agreements: The Case of the WTO," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1626, Econometric Society.
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  16. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2004. "The Economics of the World Trading System," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524341, December.
  17. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1997. "Regionalism and Multilateral Tariff Cooperation," NBER Working Papers 5921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rodney Ludema and Ann Maria Mayda, 2008. "Do Countries Free Ride on MFN?," Working Papers gueconwpa~08-08-04, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Nuno Limao, 2006. "Preferential Trade Agreements as Stumbling Blocks for Multilateral Trade Liberalization: Evidence for the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 896-914, June.
  3. May Elsayyad & Kai A. Konrad, 2010. "Fighting Multiple Tax Havens," CESifo Working Paper Series 3195, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. 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.
  5. Helpman, Elhanan & Antras, Pol & Aghion, Philippe, 2007. "Negotiating Free Trade," Scholarly Articles 3351239, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Chad Bown & Meredith Crowley, 2004. "China's export growth and U.S. trade policy," Working Paper Series WP-04-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

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