IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The customs union issue: Why do we observe so few of them?

  • Facchini, Giovanni
  • Silva, Peri
  • Willmann, Gerald

The number of preferential trade agreements has greatly increased over the past two decades, yet most existing arrangements take the form of free trade areas, and less than 10% can be considered to be fully fledged customs unions. This paper develops a political economy model of trade policy under imperfect competition to provide a positive explanation for the prevalence of free trade areas. In a three‐country setting, a representative from each prospective member is elected to determine the tariffs to be applied on imported goods. Under a customs union, the necessity to coordinate tariffs leads voters to strategically delegate power to more protectionist representatives. We show that strategic delegation may imply that free trade areas increase the prospective member countries' welfare compared to customs unions. Moreover, the model also indicates conditions under which free trade areas are more likely to be politically viable than customs unions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022199612001638
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 90 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 136-147

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:90:y:2013:i:1:p:136-147
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 21-92, Tel Aviv.
  2. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Cadot, Olivier & de Melo, Jaime & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 1996. "Regional Integration and Lobbying for Tariffs Against Non-members," CEPR Discussion Papers 1448, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  5. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1993. "The Politics of Free Trade Agreements," NBER Working Papers 4597, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Giovanni Facchini & Cecilia Testa, 2008. "Who is Against a Common Market?," Development Working Papers 240, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  7. Maggi, G & Rodriguez-Clare, A, 1996. "The Value of Trade Agreements in the Presence of Political Pressures," Papers 180, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  8. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "A Protectionist Bias in Majoritarian Politics," NBER Working Papers 11014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Antoni Estevadeordal & Caroline Freund & Emanuel Ornelas, 2008. "Does Regionalism Affect Trade Liberalization Towards Non-Members?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0868, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Goyal, S. & Joshi, S., 1999. "Bilateralism and free trade," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 9953-/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
  11. Giovanni Facchini & Oliver Lorz & Gerald Willmann, 2005. "Asylum Seekers in Europe: The Warm Glow of a Hot Potato," Development Working Papers 205, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  12. Martin Richardson, 1994. "Why A Free Trade Area? The Tariff Also Rises," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 79-96, 03.
  13. Melatos, Mark & Woodland, Alan, 2007. "Endogenous trade bloc formation in an asymmetric world," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 901-924, May.
  14. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2008. "Fast Track Authority and International Trade Negotiations," Development Working Papers 246, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  15. Giovanni Maggi & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2005. "A Political-Economy Theory of Trade Agreements," NBER Working Papers 11716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Caroline Freund, 2010. "Third‐country Effects of Regional Trade Agreements," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(11), pages 1589-1605, November.
  17. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  18. Mrázová, Monika & Vines, David & Zissimos, Ben, 2013. "Is the GATT/WTO's Article XXIV bad?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 216-232.
  19. Ornelas, Emanuel, 2005. "Trade creating free trade areas and the undermining of multilateralism," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1717-1735, October.
  20. Caroline Freund & Emanuel Ornelas, 2009. "Regional trade agreements," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28697, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  21. Laussel, Didier & Riezman, Raymond, 2005. "The sources of protectionist drift in representative democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1855-1876, October.
  22. Pravin Krishna, . "Regionalism and Multilaterialism: A Political Economy Approach," Working Papers 96-5, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  23. Dutt, Pushan & Mitra, Devashish, 2002. "Endogenous trade policy through majority voting: an empirical investigation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 107-133, October.
  24. Kamal Saggi, 2006. "Preferential Trade Agreements And Multilateral Tariff Cooperation ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 29-57, 02.
  25. Syropoulos, Constantinos, 1999. "Customs Unions and Comparative Advantage," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 239-66, April.
  26. Willmann, Gerald, 2003. "Why Legislators are Protectionists: the Role of Majoritarian Voting in Setting Tariffs," Economics Working Papers 2003,10, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  27. Gatsios, Konstantine & Karp, Larry, 1989. "Delegation Games in Customs Unions," CEPR Discussion Papers 337, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  28. Caroline Freund & Emanuel Ornelas, 2010. "Regional trade agreements: blessing or burden?," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 313, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  29. Emanuel Ornelas, 2007. "Exchanging market access at the outsiders' expense: the case of customs unions," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(1), pages 207-224, February.
  30. Chase, Kerry, 2006. "Multilateralism compromised: the mysterious origins of GATT Article XXIV," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 1-30, March.
  31. Jones, Stephen R. G., 1989. "Have your lawyer call my lawyer : Bilateral delegation in bargaining situations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 159-174, March.
  32. Freund, Caroline, 2000. "Multilateralism and the endogenous formation of preferential trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 359-376, December.
  33. Segendorff, Bjorn, 1998. "Delegation and Threat in Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 266-283, May.
  34. Emanuel Ornelas, 2005. "Rent Destruction and the Political Viability of Free Trade Agreements," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1475-1506, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:90:y:2013:i:1:p:136-147. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.