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Does Flexibility Promote Cooperation? An Application to the Global Trade Regime


  • Kucik, Jeffrey
  • Reinhardt, Eric


Do flexibility provisions in international agreements—clauses allowing for legal suspension of concessions without abrogating the treaty—promote cooperation? Recent work emphasizes that provisions for relaxing treaty commitments can ironically make states more likely to form agreements and make deeper concessions when doing so. This argument has particularly been applied to the global trade regime, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO). Yet the field has not produced much evidence bearing on this claim. Our article applies this claim to the global trade regime and its chief flexibility provision, antidumping. In contrast to prior work, this article explicitly models the endogeneity and selection processes envisioned by the theory. We find that states joining the WTO are more likely to adopt domestic antidumping mechanisms. Likewise, corrected for endogeneity, states able to take advantage of the regime's principal flexibility provision, by having a domestic antidumping mechanism in place, are significantly more likely to (1) join the WTO, (2) agree to more tightly binding tariff commitments, and (3) implement lower applied tariffs as well.

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  • Kucik, Jeffrey & Reinhardt, Eric, 2008. "Does Flexibility Promote Cooperation? An Application to the Global Trade Regime," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(03), pages 477-505, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:62:y:2008:i:03:p:477-505_08

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    Cited by:

    1. David Tingle, 2015. "Bargaining Practice and Negotiation Failure in Russia-Ukraine Gas Relations," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1504, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Johannes Urpelainen, 2011. "Early birds: Special interests and the strategic logic of international cooperation," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 113-140, July.
    3. Baccini, Leonardo, 2012. "Democratization and trade policy: an empirical analysis of developing countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 44924, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Baerg, Nicole Rae & Hallerberg, Mark, 2014. "Rule Bending in International Organizations: Explaining Instability in the Stability and Growth Pact," MPRA Paper 18084, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. William Phelan, 2015. "Enforcement and Escape in the Andean Community: Why the Andean Community of Nations is Not a Replica of the European Union," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 840-856, July.
    6. Baccini, Leonardo & Dür, Andreas & Elsig, Manfred, 2015. "The politics of trade agreement design: revisiting the depth-flexibility nexus," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 62303, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Baccini, Leonardo, 2010. "Explaining formation and design of EU trade agreements: the role of transparency and flexibility," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 45565, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Yoomi Kim & Katsuya Tanaka & Shunji Matsuoka, 2017. "Institutional Mechanisms and the Consequences of International Environmental Agreements," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 17(1), pages 77-98, February.
    9. Simon Schropp, Kornel Mahlstein, 2007. "The Optimal Design of Trade Policy Flexibility in the WTO," IHEID Working Papers 27-2007, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies, revised Dec 2007.

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