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Explaining formation and design of EU trade agreements: The role of transparency and flexibility


  • Leonardo Baccini

    (IMT Institute for Advanced Studies, Lucca,


What political factors explain the selection of countries for preferential trade agreements by the European Union? I argue that when forming a trade agreement the EU is more likely to target countries that have a higher degree of political and economic transparency than other developing countries. In highly transparent countries the EU is able to monitor effectively whether or not these countries follow its forms of conditionality, which is the main rationale of EU regionalism. Moreover, economic and political transparency plays a particularly important role in determining the degree of flexibility in trade agreements. Evidence based on data from 138 developing countries supports these arguments.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo Baccini, 2010. "Explaining formation and design of EU trade agreements: The role of transparency and flexibility," European Union Politics, , vol. 11(2), pages 195-217, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:eeupol:v:11:y:2010:i:2:p:195-217

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    Cited by:

    1. Colin Vance & Nolan Ritter, 2013. "Is Peace a Missing Value or a Zero?," Ruhr Economic Papers 0466, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:zbw:rwirep:0466 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Vance, Colin & Ritter, Nolan, 2013. "Is Peace a Missing Value or a Zero?," Ruhr Economic Papers 466, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.


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