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Gradualism in Free Trade Agreements: A Theoretical Justification

  • Richard Chisik

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)

A notable feature of many recent trade agreements is the gradual, rather than immediate, reduction of trade barriers. In this paper we model trade liberalization as a cooperative relationship that evolves gradually in a non-cooperative environment. We show that specialization, capacity irreversibility and the development of trade-partner specific capital increase the benefit of continuing the liberalizing relationship and decrease, over time, the lowest obtainable self-enforcing tariff. By increasing the penalty of future defection, sunk costs ensure that the self-enforcing trading relationship starts slowly, but once in progress the level of cooperation continues to improve.

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File URL: http://economics.ryerson.ca/workingpapers/wp018.pdf
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Paper provided by Ryerson University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 018.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rye:wpaper:wp018
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  1. Lapan, Harvey E, 1988. "The Optimal Tariff, Production Lags, and Time Consistency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 395-401, June.
  2. Kyle Bagwell, 1992. "Commitment and Observability in Games," Discussion Papers 1014, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1989. "A Theory of Managed Trade," Discussion Papers 801, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Raymond J. Deneckere, 1987. "One is Almost Enough for Monopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 255-274, Summer.
  5. Riezman, Raymond, 1991. "Dynamic tariffs with asymmetric information," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3-4), pages 267-283, May.
  6. Lapham, Beverly, 1995. "Tariffs and Welfare in a Dynamic Differentiated Oligopoly," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(1), pages 60-74, February.
  7. Kennan, John & Riezman, Raymond, 1988. "Do Big Countries Win Tariff Wars?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(1), pages 81-85, February.
  8. Staiger, Robert W., 1995. "International rules and institutions for trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1495-1551 Elsevier.
  9. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1981. "Theoretical Considerations on Negotiated Tariff Adjustments," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(1), pages 135-53, March.
  10. Falvey, Rod & Kim, Cha Dong, 1992. "Timing and Sequencing Issues in Trade Liberalisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(413), pages 908-24, July.
  11. Michael Devereux, 1990. "Growth, Specialization, and Trade Liberalization," Working Papers 786, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Furusawa, Taiji & Lai, Edwin L. -C., 1999. "Adjustment costs and gradual trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 333-361, December.
  13. Admati, Anat R & Perry, Motty, 1991. "Joint Projects without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 259-76, April.
  14. Benhabib, Jess & Radner, Roy, 1992. "The Joint Exploitation of a Productive Asset: A Game-Theoretic Approach," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 155-90, April.
  15. Staiger, Robert W & Tabellini, Guido, 1987. "Discretionary Trade Policy and Excessive Protection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 823-37, December.
  16. McLaren, John, 1997. "Size, Sunk Costs, and Judge Bowker's Objection to Free Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 400-420, June.
  17. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  18. Rowat, M. & Lubrano, M. & Porrata, R.Jr., 1997. "Competition Policy and MERCOSUR," Papers 385, World Bank - Technical Papers.
  19. Hungerford, Thomas L., 1991. "GATT: A cooperative equilibrium in a noncooperative trading regime?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3-4), pages 357-369, November.
  20. Halvor Mehlum, 1998. "Why gradualism?," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 279-297.
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