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

  • Susan Ariel Aaronson

    ()

    (Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University)

  • M. Rodwan Abouharb

    ()

    (Department of Political Science, Lousisiana State University)

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.

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File URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~iiep/assets/docs/papers/Aaronson_IIEPWP2010-12.pdf
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Paper provided by The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2010-12.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in NCCR Trade Regulations, 01 Feb 2010; Forthcoming in International Studies Quarterly June 2011
Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2010-12
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.gwu.edu/~iiep/
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  1. Eric Neumayer, 2005. "Do International Human Rights Treaties Improve Respect for Human Rights?," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 49(6), pages 925-953, December.
  2. 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.
  3. Moravcsik, Andrew, 2000. "The Origins of Human Rights Regimes: Democratic Delegation in Postwar Europe," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 217-252, March.
  4. Keohane, Robert O. & Macedo, Stephen & Moravcsik, Andrew, 2009. "Democracy-Enhancing Multilateralism," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(01), pages 1-31, January.
  5. Steve Charnovitz, 2001. "The WTO and the rights of the individual," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 98-108, March.
  6. Arvind Subramanian & Shang-Jin Wei, 2003. "The WTO Promotes Trade, Strongly But Unevenly," NBER Working Papers 10024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Elkins, Zachary & Guzman, Andrew T. & Simmons, Beth A., 2006. "Competing for Capital: The Diffusion of Bilateral Investment Treaties, 1960 2000," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(04), pages 811-846, October.
  8. Andrew K. Rose, 2004. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 98-114, March.
  9. Keohane, Robert O, 2002. "Rational Choice Theory and International Law: Insights and Limitations," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages S307-19, January.
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