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National Sovereignty in an Interdependent World

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  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Robert W. Staiger

Abstract

What are the sovereign rights of nations in an interdependent world, and to what extent do these rights stand in the way of achieving important international objectives? These two questions rest at the heart of contemporary debate over the role and design of international institutions as well as growing tension between globalization and the preservation of national sovereignty. In this paper, we propose answers to these two questions. We do so by first developing formal definitions of national sovereignty that capture features of sovereignty emphasized in the political science literature. We then utilize these definitions to describe the degree and nature of national sovereignty possessed by governments in a benchmark (Nash) world in which there exist no international agreements of any kind. And with national sovereignty characterized in this benchmark world, we then evaluate the extent to which national sovereignty is compromised by international agreements with specific design features. In this way, we delineate the degree of tension between national sovereignty and international objectives and describe how that tension can be minimized and in principle at times even eliminated through careful institutional design.

Suggested Citation

  • Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2004. "National Sovereignty in an Interdependent World," NBER Working Papers 10249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10249
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2005. "International Unions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 602-615, June.
    3. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2001. "The WTO as a Mechanism for Securing Market Access Property Rights: Implications for Global Labor and Environmental Issues," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 69-88, Summer.
    4. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2001. "Domestic Policies, National Sovereignty, and International Economic Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 519-562.
    5. Robert W. Staiger & Kyle Bagwell, 1999. "An Economic Theory of GATT," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 215-248, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fritz Breuss, 2004. "WTO Dispute Settlement: An Economic Analysis of four EU-US Mini Trade Wars," WIFO Working Papers 231, WIFO.
    2. Bogmans, Christian, 2015. "Can the terms of trade externality outweigh free-riding? The role of vertical linkages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 115-128.

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    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade

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