Does the WTO Help Member States Clean Up?
Corruption (the abuse of entrusted authority for illicit gain) is pervasive, hard to measure, and damaging both to economic growth and human rights. Corruption is also intimately associated with trade. However, the international organization governing trade, the WTO, says nothing about corruption. This paper uses qualitative and quantitative analysis to examine whether the GATT/WTO, without deliberate intent, helps nations improve governance. Under GATT/WTO rules, policymakers are obligated to act in an evenhanded and predictable manner, to facilitate transparent trade-related policymaking and to provide due process to such policymaking by allowing individuals to comment on and challenge trade related regulations before they are adopted. Even-handedness, access to information, and due process are anticorruption counterweights. Hence we hypothesized that we would see both qualitative and quantitative evidence of improvement in these government metrics among developing country WTO members.
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