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Bilateralism, multilateralism, and the quest for global free trade

  • Saggi, Kamal
  • Yildiz, Halis Murat

We develop an equilibrium theory of trade agreements in which both the degree and the nature (bilateral or multilateral) of trade liberalization are endogenously determined. To determine whether and how bilateralism matters, we also analyze a scenario where countries pursue trade liberalization on only a multilateral basis. We find that when countries have asymmetric endowments or when governments value producer interests more than tari¤ revenue and consumer surplus, there exist circumstances where global free trade is a stable equilibrium only if countries are free to pursue bilateral trade agreements. By contrast, under symmetry, both bilateralism and multilateralism yield global free trade.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 17558.

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Date of creation: 30 Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17558
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  1. Dutta, Bhaskar & Mutuswami, Suresh, 1996. "Stable Networks," Working Papers 971, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Goyal, S. & Joshi, S., 1999. "Bilateralism and free trade," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 9953-/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
  3. Taiji Furusawa & Hideo Konishi, 2003. "Free Trade Networks," Working Papers 2003.55, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 1994. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Discussion Papers 1098, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Freund, Caroline, 2000. "Multilateralism and the endogenous formation of preferential trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 359-376, December.
  6. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1997. "Regionalism and Multilateral Tariff Cooperation," NBER Working Papers 5921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kamal Saggi, Halis Murat Yildiz, 2009. "Optimal tariffs of preferential trade agreements and the tariff complementarity effect," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 2(1), pages 5-17, April.
  8. Antoni Estevadeordal & Caroline Freund & Emanuel Ornelas, 2008. "Does regionalism affect trade liberalization towards non-members?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19584, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Philippe Aghion & Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Negotiating Free Trade," NBER Working Papers 10721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W, 1997. "Multilateral Tariff Cooperation during the Formation of Free Trade Areas," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(2), pages 291-319, May.
  11. Raymond Riezman, 1997. "Can Bilateral Trade Agreements Help Induce Free Trade?," International Trade 9706001, EconWPA.
  12. Ornelas, Emanuel, 2005. "Endogenous free trade agreements and the multilateral trading system," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 471-497, December.
  13. Paul Krugman, 1991. "The move toward free trade zones," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 7-58.
  14. Ludema, Rodney D., 2002. "Increasing returns, multinationals and geography of preferential trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 329-358, March.
  15. Bond, Eric W. & Riezman, Raymond G. & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 2004. "A strategic and welfare theoretic analysis of free trade areas," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 1-27, October.
  16. Emanuel Ornelas, 2005. "Rent Destruction and the Political Viability of Free Trade Agreements," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1475-1506, November.
  17. Saggi, Kamal & Yildiz, Halis Murat, 2008. "Bilateral trade agreements and the feasibility of multilateral free trade," MPRA Paper 17561, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 26 Jun 2009.
  18. Bond, Eric W & Syropoulos, Costas & Winters, L. Alan, 1996. "Deepening of Regional Integration and Multilateral Trade Agreements," CEPR Discussion Papers 1317, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Levy, Philip I, 1997. "A Political-Economic Analysis of Free-Trade Agreements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 506-19, September.
  20. Pravin Krishna, 1998. "Regionalism And Multilateralism: A Political Economy Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 227-250, February.
  21. Kamal Saggi, 2006. "Preferential Trade Agreements And Multilateral Tariff Cooperation ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 29-57, 02.
  22. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
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