Why Do Some Countries Get Better WTO Accession Terms Than Others?
The process by which countries accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO) has become the subject of considerable debate. This article takes a closer look at what determines the concessions the institution requires of an entrant. In other words, who gets a good deal, and who does not? I argue that given the institutional design of accession proceedings and the resulting suspension of reciprocity, accession terms are driven by the domestic export interests of existing members. As a result, relatively greater liberalization will be imposed on those entrants that have more valuable market access to offer upon accession, something that appears to be in opposition to expectations during multilateral trade rounds, where market access functions as a bargaining chit. The empirical evidence supports these assertions. Looking at eighteen recent entrants at the six-digit product level, I find that controlling for a host of country-specific variables, as well as the applied protection rates on a given product prior to accession, the more a country has to offer, the more it is required to give. Moreover, I show how more democratic countries, in spite of their greater overall depth of integration, exhibit greater resistance to adjustment in key industries than do nondemocracies. Finally, I demonstrate that wealth exhibits a curvilinear effect. On the one hand, institutionalized norms lead members to exercise observable restraint vis-à-vis the poorest countries. On the other hand, the richest countries have the greatest bargaining expertise, and thus obtain better terms. The outcome, as I show using a semi-parametric analysis, is that middle-income countries end up with the most stringent terms, and have to make the greatest relative adjustments to their trade regimes.
Volume (Year): 65 (2011)
Issue (Month): 04 (October)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_INO
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:65:y:2011:i:04:p:639-672_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.