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Unexpected Bedfellows: The GATT, the WTO, and Some Democratic Rights

Author

Listed:
  • Susan Ariel Aaronson

    () (Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University)

  • M. Rodwan Abouharb

    () (Department of Political Science, Lousisiana State University)

Abstract

The WTO system has democratic rights spillovers. In this paper, we show how GATT and WTO rules induce memberstates to advance several democratic rights: specifically political participation, due process and access toinformation. We use qualitative and quantitative tools to examine this process. Our quantitative analysis found thatcountries that have been members of the GATT/WTO for longer periods of time saw statistically significantimprovements in our metrics for political participation and due process rights. However, we did not have similarlyrobust findings for access to information. We think this may reflect the limited amount of quantitative data availablefor this period. We note that the WTO is to some degree a bill of rights for foreign market actors. Ironically, inrepressive states, its rules may empower domestic market actors who may not have been able to use existingdomestic remedies to obtain information, influence policies or challenge leadership. We urge other scholars to testour findings about how the WTO and democratic rights became unexpected bedfellows.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Ariel Aaronson & M. Rodwan Abouharb, 2010. "Unexpected Bedfellows: The GATT, the WTO, and Some Democratic Rights," Working Papers 2010-12, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2010-12
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    File URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~iiep/assets/docs/papers/Aaronson_IIEPWP2010-12.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Andrew K. Rose, 2004. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 98-114.
    7. Keohane, Robert O, 2002. "Rational Choice Theory and International Law: Insights and Limitations," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, pages 307-319.
    8. Abouharb,M. Rodwan & Cingranelli,David, 2007. "Human Rights and Structural Adjustment," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521676717, December.
    9. Steve Charnovitz, 2001. "The WTO and the rights of the individual," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 36(2), pages 98-108, March.
    10. Hafner-Burton, Emilie M., 2008. "Sticks and Stones: Naming and Shaming the Human Rights Enforcement Problem," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(04), pages 689-716, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Aaronson, Susan & Abouharb, M. Rodwan, 2011. "Does the WTO Help Member States Clean Up?," Papers 268, World Trade Institute.
    2. Aaronson Susan Ariel & Abouharb M. Rodwan & Daniel Wang K., 2015. "The Liberal Illusion Is Not a Complete Delusion: The WTO Helps Member States Keep the Peace Only When It Increases Trade," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 15(4), pages 455-484, December.
    3. Susan Ariel Aaronson, "undated". "Governance Spillovers of Labour Provisions in Free Trade Agreements," Working Papers 2017-2, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    4. repec:spr:revint:v:12:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11558-016-9250-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade; WTO; GATT; democracy; democratic rights; accessions; freedom of information;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other

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