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The GATT's Contribution to Economic Recovery in Post-War Western Europe

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  • Douglas A. Irwin

Abstract

This paper examines the role of trade liberalization under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tarrifs and Trade (GATT) in promoting economic recovery and growth in Europe in the decade after World War II. The formation of the GATT does not appear to have stimulated a particularly rapid liberalization of world trade in the decade after 1947. It is therefore difficult to attribute much of a role to the GATT in the dramatic economic recovery during the immediate post-war period beyond that of an effective supporting actor. The principal contribution of the GATT during its first decade of operation rests more in securing binding agreements on early tariff reductions, thereby preventing countries from instituting higher tariffs as import quotas and foreign exchange controls were being phased out during the 1950s under the guidance of other international institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas A. Irwin, 1994. "The GATT's Contribution to Economic Recovery in Post-War Western Europe," NBER Working Papers 4944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4944
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kitson,Michael & Solomou,Solomos, 2008. "Protectionism and Economic Revival," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521071789, April.
    2. Frederic Boyer & J. P. Sallé, 1955. "The Liberalization of Intra-European Trade in the Framework of OEEC," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 4(2), pages 179-216, February.
    3. de Melo, Jaime & Montenegro, Claudio & Panagariya, Arvind, 1992. "Regional integration, old and new," Policy Research Working Paper Series 985, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kyle Handley & Nuno Limão, 2015. "Trade and Investment under Policy Uncertainty: Theory and Firm Evidence," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 189-222, November.
    2. Frankel, Jeffrey & Stein, Ernesto & Wei, Shang-jin, 1995. "Trading blocs and the Americas: The natural, the unnatural, and the super-natural," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-95, June.
    3. Handley, Kyle, 2014. "Exporting under trade policy uncertainty: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 50-66.
    4. Silvia Nenci, 2009. "Tariff liberatization and the growth of word trade: A comparative historiocal analysis to evaluate the multilateral trading system," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0110, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
    5. Ludger Lindlar, 1996. "Four Decades of German Export Expansion - an Enduring Success Story?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 130, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Nenci, Silvia, 2005. "Liberalizzazione tariffaria e crescita degli scambi mondiali: un’analisi storica comparata per la valutazione del sistema commerciale multilaterale
      [Tariff Liberalisation and Trade Growth: a Compar
      ," MPRA Paper 645, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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