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The Role of Multilateral Institutions in International Trade Cooperation

Author

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  • Giovanni Maggi

Abstract

The World Trade Organization (WFO) lacks the power to directly enforce agreements. It is, therefore, important to understand what role the WTO can play to facilitate international cooperation and whether a multilateral institution can offer distinct advantages over a web of bilateral agreements. This paper examines two potential benefits of a multilateral trade institution: first, verifying violations of the agreements and informing third parties, thus facilitating multilateral reputation mechanisms; second, promoting multilateral trade negotiations rather than a web of bilateral negotiations. The model suggests that a multilateral approach is particularly important when there are strong imbalances in bilateral trading relationships.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Maggi, 1999. "The Role of Multilateral Institutions in International Trade Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 190-214, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:89:y:1999:i:1:p:190-214
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.89.1.190
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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