Bilateralism and Multilateralism: a Network Approach
The deadlock in the Doha Round and the proliferation of regional and bilateral trade agreements has given rise to a new interest in the potential relationship between regionalism and multilateralism. This paper has two main aims. First, the formation of free trade agreements amongst symmetric and asymmetric countries has been studied by means of the network formation theory. Second, we have focused on the connection between bilateralism and multilateralism and we have evaluated the efficiency of the equilibrium configurations. In order to characterize and distinguish between bilateral and multilateral outcomes we have used two different network stability notions, that is, pairwise stability and strong stability. Moreover, from the analysis of pairwise and strong stability we have also obtained insights on the relationship between bilateralism and multilateralism.
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