On the emergence of an MFN club: equal treatment in an unequal world
Motivated by GATT, we endogenize the formation of a club whose members have to abide by the MFN principle of non-discrimination. The underlying model is that of oligopolistic intraindustry trade. While an MFN club does not alter average tariff levels across countries, it increases aggregate world welfare; makes non-members worse off; and can immiserize its high cost members. These results imply that (i) core WTO rules such as MFN are valuable even if multilateral negotiations deliver limited trade liberalization and (ii) the distributional effects of MFN maybe one reason why developing countries have been granted Special and Differential treatment at the WTO.
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Volume (Year): 42 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
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