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Multilateral Stability and Efficiency of Trade Agreements: A Network Formation Approach

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  • Jorzik, Nathalie
  • Mueller-Langer, Frank

Abstract

We study the endogenous network formation of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements by means of hypergraphs and introduce the equilibrium concept of multilateral stability. We consider multi-country settings with a firm in each country that produces a homogeneous good and competes as a Cournot oligopolist in each market. Under endogenous tariffs, we find that the existence of a multilateral trade agreement is always necessary for the stability of the trading system and that the formation of preferential trade agreements is always necessary for achieving global free trade. We also find that global free trade is efficient but not necessarily the only multilaterally stable trade equilibrium when countries are symmetric (heterogeneous) in terms of market size. We derive conditions under which such a conflict between overall welfare efficiency and stability occurs.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorzik, Nathalie & Mueller-Langer, Frank, 2013. "Multilateral Stability and Efficiency of Trade Agreements: A Network Formation Approach," Discussion Papers in Economics 14587, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:14587
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    3. Freund, Caroline, 2000. "Multilateralism and the endogenous formation of preferential trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 359-376, December.
    4. Richard E. Baldwin, 2011. "Multilateralising Regionalism: Spaghetti Bowls as Building Blocks on the Path to Global Free Trade," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume I, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. David Vines & Monika Mrazova, 2008. "Is the WTO's Article XXIV Bad?," Economics Series Working Papers 417, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    6. Durieu, Jacques & Haller, Hans & Solal, Philippe, 2005. "Interaction on Hypergraphs," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-34, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    7. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "The Politics of Free-Trade Agreements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 667-690, September.
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    9. Mrázová, Monika & Vines, David & Zissimos, Ben, 2013. "Is the GATT/WTO's Article XXIV bad?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 216-232.
    10. Kamal Saggi & Halis Murat Yildiz, 2011. "Bilateral Trade Agreements and the Feasibility of Multilateral Free Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(2), pages 356-373, May.
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    12. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W, 1998. "Will Preferential Agreements Undermine the Multilateral Trading System?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(449), pages 1162-1182, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preferential trade; multilateral trade agreements; multilateral stability; GATT; network formation;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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