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Product Standards Coalitions in a Market without Borders


  • Casella, Alessandra


Traditional analyses of standards in international trade identify standards as government regulations and investigate the potential for distortion of trade flows. In reality, however, private industry groups exercise critical influence on the determination of technical standards. The composition of these groups is affected by technology and market conditions, and in an integrated market the alliances of private firms are likely to cross national boundaries, generating harmonization ‘from the bottom’. If standards are public goods whose ideal value differs across economic activities and across countries, economic integration should bring increased harmonization across countries and finer differentiation across products. Empirical evidence from the United States and the European Union, although mostly anecdotal, supports this prediction.

Suggested Citation

  • Casella, Alessandra, 1997. "Product Standards Coalitions in a Market without Borders," CEPR Discussion Papers 1584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1584

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dybvig, Philip H. & Spatt, Chester S., 1983. "Adoption externalities as public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 231-247, March.
    2. Jeanne-Mey Sun & Jacques Pelkmans, 1995. "Regulatory Competition in the Single Market," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(1), pages 67-89, March.
    3. Casella, Alessandra, 1995. "Free Trade and Evolving Standards," CEPR Discussion Papers 1204, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Alessandra Casella, 2001. "The Role of Market Size in the Formation of Jurisdictions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 83-108.
    5. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barrett, Christopher B. & Yang, Yi-Nung, 2001. "Rational incompatibility with international product standards," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 171-191, June.
    2. Jackson, Lee Ann, 2000. "An Economic Model Of Agricultural Labeling Policy Harmonization In International Trading Systems," Proceedings:Transitions in Agbiotech: Economics of Strategy and Policy, June 24-25, 1999, Washington, D.C. 26012, Regional Research Project NE-165 Private Strategies, Public Policies, and Food System Performance.

    More about this item


    Coalitions; Market Integration; Standards;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure


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