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The Evolution and Utilization of the GATT/WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism

  • Pao-li Chang


This paper provides a theoretical framework of dispute settlement to explain the surge in blocking incidence of GATT panel reports during the 1980s and the variations in withdrawn incidence versus total disputes across different decades of the GATT regime. The study first suggests the role of the degree of legal controversy over a panel ruling in determining countries' incentives to block (appeal) a panel report under the GATT (WTO) regime. The study then analyzes the effects of political power on countries' incentives to use, and their interactions in using, the dispute settlement mechanism, when two-sided asymmetric information exists regarding panel judgement.

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Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Trade Working Papers with number 22062.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eab:tradew:22062
Contact details of provider: Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200
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  1. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1987. "Suing Solely to Extract a Settlement Offer," NBER Working Papers 2161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
  3. Barry Nalebuff, 1987. "Credible Pretrial Negotiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 198-210, Summer.
  4. Butler, M. & Hauser, H., 2000. "The WTO Dispute Settlement System : A First Assessment from an Economic Perspective," Discussion Paper 2000-21, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 1994. "Settlement Negotiations with Two-Sided Asymmetric Information: Model Duality, Information Distribution and Efficiency," Game Theory and Information 9403009, EconWPA.
  6. Horn, Henrik & Mavroidis, Petros C & Nordström, Håkan, 1999. "Is The Use Of The WTO Dispute Settlement System Biased?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2340, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Cooter, Robert D & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1989. "Economic Analysis of Legal Disputes and Their Resolution," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 1067-97, September.
  8. Urs Schweizer, 1989. "Litigation and Settlement under Two-Sided Incomplete Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 163-177.
  9. I.P.L. P'ng, 1983. "Strategic Behavior in Suit, Settlement, and Trial," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 539-550, Autumn.
  10. Chad P . Bown, 2002. "The Economics of Trade Disputes, the GATT's Article XXIII, and the WTO's Dispute Settlement Understanding," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 283-323, November.
  11. Kara Leitner & Simon Lester, 2006. "WTO Dispute Settlement from 1995 to 2005 -- A Statistical Analysis," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 219-231, March.
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