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Trade Agreements as Endogenously Incomplete Contracts

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  • Henrik Horn
  • Giovanni Maggi
  • Robert W. Staiger

Abstract

We propose a model of trade agreements in which contracting is costly, and as a consequence the optimal agreement may be incomplete. In spite of its simplicity, the model yields rich predictions on the structure of the optimal trade agreement and how this depends on the fundamentals of the contracting environment. We argue that taking contracting costs explicitly into account can help explain a number of key features of real trade agreements.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12745.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12745.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Publication status: published as Henrik Horn & Giovanni Maggi & Robert W. Staiger, 2010. "Trade Agreements as Endogenously Incomplete Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 394-419, March.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12745

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  1. Maggi, Giovanni & Rodriguez-Clare, Andres, 2005. "A Political-Economy Theory of Trade Agreements," CEPR Discussion Papers 5321, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Costinot, Arnaud, 2008. "A comparative institutional analysis of agreements on product standards," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 197-213, May.
  3. Bagwell,K. & Staiger,R.W., 2004. "Enforcement, private political pressure and the GATT/WTO escape clause," Working papers 23, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. Baldwin, Richard, 1987. "Politically realistic objective functions and trade policy PROFs and tariffs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 287-290.
  5. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Giovanni Maggi, 2002. "Rigidity, Discretion, and the Costs of Writing Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 798-817, September.
  6. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1988. "A Theory of Managed Trade," NBER Working Papers 2756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Horn, Henrik, 2006. "National Treatment in the GATT," CEPR Discussion Papers 5450, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Brian R. Copeland, 1990. "Strategic Interaction among Nations: Negotiable and Non-negotiable Trade Barriers," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(1), pages 84-108, February.
  9. Schwartz, Warren F & Sykes, Alan O, 2002. "The Economic Structure of Renegotiation and Dispute Resolution in the World Trade Organization," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages S179-204, January.
  10. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Giovanni Maggi, 2003. "International agreements on product standards: an incomplete-contracting theory," Working Papers 229, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  11. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2005. "Enforcement, Private Political Pressure, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization Escape Clause," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 471-513, 06.
  12. Markusen, James R., 1975. "International externalities and optimal tax structures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 15-29, February.
  13. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2001. "Domestic Policies, National Sovereignty, And International Economic Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 519-562, May.
  14. Josh Ederington, 2001. "International Coordination of Trade and Domestic Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1580-1593, December.
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