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Conditional versus Unconditional Trade Concessions for Developing Countries

  • Conconi, Paola
  • Perroni, Carlo

We consider a small open economy that faces a commitment problem in trade liberalization. We examine how the relationship with a large trading partner affects the ability of the small countrys government to sustain free trade through a reputational mechanism. If the small country's government is patient enough, it can overcome its domestic commitment without the help of the large country. Unconditional liberalization by the large trading partner has an ambiguous effect on the small country's dynamic incentives. Liberalization through a reciprocal trade agreement, in which the large country lowers its tariffs conditionally on the small country doing the same, unambiguously dominates unconditional liberalization by the large country as a way of boosting trade reforms and reinforcing policy credibility in the small country. However, if capacity in the import-competing sector can only be reduced gradually, a conditional, reciprocal agreement may require an asynchronous exchange of concessions, with the large country liberalizing before the small country.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8253.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8253
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  1. Horn, Henrik & Mavroidis, Petros C & Sapir, André, 2009. "Beyond the WTO? An Anatomy of EU and US Preferential Trade Agreements," CEPR Discussion Papers 7317, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Green, Edward J. & Porter, Robert H., 1982. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Working Papers 367, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  3. van Damme, Eric, 1989. "Renegotiation-proof equilibria in repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 206-217, February.
  4. de Melo, Jaime & Grether, Jean-Marie & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 1999. "Who Determines Mexican Trade Policy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2176, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Richard E. Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2007. "Entry and asymmetric lobbying: why governments pick losers," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19726, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Richard Chisik, 2010. "Gradualism in Free Trade Agreements: A Theoretical Justification," Working Papers 018, Ryerson University, Department of Economics.
  7. Perroni, Carlo & Whalley, John, 1996. "How Severe Is Global Retaliation Risk under Increasing Regionalism?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 57-61, May.
  8. Carlo Perroni & John Whalley, 1994. "The New Regionalism: Trade Liberalization or Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 4626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Conconi, Paola & Perroni, Carlo, 2009. "Do credible domestic institutions promote credible international agreements?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 160-170, September.
  10. Furusawa, Taiji & Lai, Edwin L. -C., 1999. "Adjustment costs and gradual trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 333-361, December.
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  13. repec:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:4:p:1475-1506 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Coates, Daniel E. & Ludema, Rodney D., 2001. "A theory of trade policy leadership," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-29, June.
  15. Conconi, Paola & Perroni, Carlo, 2004. "The Economics of Special and Differential Trade Regimes," CEPR Discussion Papers 4508, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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