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The WTO as a Mechanism for Securing Market Access Property Rights: Implications for Global Labor and Environmental Issues

  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Robert W. Staiger

Can the World Trade Organization (WTO) contribute to the attainment of sound labor and environmental policies? An answer requires an understanding of WTO rules. We argue that the purpose of WTO rules is to create a negotiating forum where governments can exchange secure market access commitments. From this perspective, we argue that supporters of sound trade, labor and environmental policies can benefit from a well-functioning WTO, because facilitating trade liberalization and preventing race-to-the-bottom/regulatory-chill problems go hand in hand, and each is accomplished by maintaining secure property rights over negotiated market access commitments.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 15 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 69-88

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:15:y:2001:i:3:p:69-88
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.15.3.69
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  1. Won Chang & Winters, L. Alan, 1999. "How regional blocs affect excluded countries - the price effects of MERCOSUR," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2157, The World Bank.
  2. Feenstra, R.C., 1995. "Estimating the Effects of Trade Policy," Department of Economics 95-10, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  3. Limao, Nuno, 2005. "Trade policy, cross-border externalities and lobbies: do linked agreements enforce more cooperative outcomes?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 175-199, September.
  4. 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.
  5. Gros, Daniel, 1987. "A note on the optimal tariff, retaliation and the welfare loss from tariff wars in a framework with intra-industry trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 357-367, November.
  6. Josh Ederington & Jenny Minier, 2000. "Is Environmental Policy a Secondary Trade Barrier? An Empirical Analysis," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1507, Econometric Society.
  7. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1988. "A Theory of Managed Trade," NBER Working Papers 2756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Josh Ederington, 2001. "International Coordination of Trade and Domestic Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1580-1593, December.
  9. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Michael M. Knetter, 1997. "Goods Prices and Exchange Rates: What Have We Learned?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1243-1272, September.
  10. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Political economy of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1494 Elsevier.
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