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Enforcement, Private Political Pressure, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization Escape Clause

  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Robert W. Staiger

c) negotiated commitments can be implemented only if they are self-enforcing. We thus consider the design of self-enforcing trade agreements among governments that acquire private information over time. We provide equilibrium interpretations of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization (GATT/WTO) negotiations regarding upper bounds on applied tariffs and GATT/WTO escape clauses. We also provide a novel interpretation of a feature of the WTO Safeguards Agreement, under which escape clause actions cannot be reimposed in an industry for a period equal to the duration of the most recent escape clause action. We find that a dynamic-use constraint of this kind can raise the expected welfare of negotiating governments.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/431782
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 34 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 471-513

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:34:y:2005:p:471-513
DOI: 10.1086/431782
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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  1. Fudenberg, D. & Levine, D.K. & Maskin, E., 1989. "The Folk Theorem With Inperfect Public Information," Working papers 523, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Staiger, Robert W & Tabellini, Guido, 1987. "Discretionary Trade Policy and Excessive Protection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 823-37, December.
  3. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, December.
  4. Rosendorff, B. Peter & Milner, Helen V., 2001. "The Optimal Design of International Trade Institutions: Uncertainty and Escape," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(04), pages 829-857, September.
  5. 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.
  6. Robert C. Feenstra & Tracy R. Lewis, 1991. "Negotiated Trade Restrictions with Private Political Pressure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1287-1307.
  7. Athey, Susan & Bagwell, Kyle, 2001. "Optimal Collusion with Private Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 428-65, Autumn.
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