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Is the WTO passé?

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  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Chad P. Bown
  • Robert W. Staiger

Abstract

The WTO has delivered policy outcomes that are very different from those likely to emerge out of the recent wave of preferential trade agreements (PTAs). Should economists see this as an efficient institutional hand-off, where the WTO has carried trade liberalization as far as it can manage, and is now passing the baton to PTAs to finish the job? We survey a growing economics literature on international trade agreements and argue on this basis that the WTO is not passé. Rather, and subject to some caveats, our survey of research to date suggests that the WTO is structured in a way that is likely to encourage policy outcomes that are viewed as efficiency enhancing by WTO member governments, while the analogous claim for PTA-led liberalization is less clear.

Suggested Citation

  • Kyle Bagwell & Chad P. Bown & Robert W. Staiger, 2015. "Is the WTO passé?," NBER Working Papers 21303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21303
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    1. repec:bla:worlde:v:39:y:2016:i:12:p:1934-1946 is not listed on IDEAS
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    3. Saggi, Kamal & Wong, Woan Foong & Yildiz, Halis Murat, 2017. "Preferential Trade Agreements and Rules of the Multilateral Trading System," MPRA Paper 76330, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Matthew T. Cole & James Lake & Ben Zissimos, 2017. "Contesting an International Trade Agreement," Working Papers 1703, California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Bown, Chad P. & Reynolds, Kara M., 2015. "Trade Agreements and Enforcement: Evidence from WTO Dispute Settlement," CEPR Discussion Papers 10571, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Emanuel Ornelas, 2016. "Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp1415, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    8. Cole, Matthew T. & Davies, Ronald B. & Kaplan, Todd, 2017. "Protection in government procurement auctions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 134-142.
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    10. Ederington,Josh & Ruta,Michele, 2016. "Non-tariff measures and the world trading system," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7661, The World Bank.

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    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements

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