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International Harmonization and the Gains from Trade

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  • Kerr, William A.

Abstract

International harmonization of standards and regulations is often a goal expressed in trade agreements because it is expected to yield gains from trade. Absence of progress toward harmonization is often interpreted as being motivated by protectionism, with differences in standards and regulations seen as non-tariff barriers. While protectionism may well be the source of resistance to harmonization, there may be other reasons it is not pursued. These alternative explanations have not received much attention from economists. In this article some of these alternatives are outlined - demand effects from altering standards, switching costs, proprietary technologies. The article concludes that proposals for international harmonization need to be scrutinized carefully.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerr, William A., 2006. "International Harmonization and the Gains from Trade," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 7(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ecjilt:23843
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/23843
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kerr, William A., 2003. "Science-based Rules of Trade: A Mantra for Some, An Anathema for Others," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 4(2).
    2. Roberts, Donna & Josling, Timothy E. & Orden, David, 1999. "A Framework for Analyzing Technical Trade Barriers in Agricultural Markets," Technical Bulletins 33560, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sawyer, Erin N. & Kerr, William A. & Hobbs, Jill E., 2008. "Consumer preferences and the international harmonization of organic standards," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 607-615, December.

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