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The Politics of WTO Enforcement Mechanism


  • Pao-Li Chang

    () (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)


This paper attempts to develop a formal economic framework to analyze the influences of domestic political considerations by democratic governments in shaping the WTO enforcement outcomes in the wake of a violation ruling against the defendant. Since a different mix of import and export sectors in the defendant and complainant country will benefit from the various potential enforcement outcomes, they become competing forces which steer the strategic interactions between the disputing governments. The results of the paper illustrate the complainant’s strategy in selecting the retaliation list, and the likelihood of the defendant’s compliance or compensation in response to the proposed or foreseeable retaliation, given the political and economic environments on both sides of the disputing parties. This paper also captures the possibility of enforcement failures under the current WTO dispute settlement procedure, where the complainant does not have enough retaliation capacity to induce compliance or some form of compensation from the defendant.

Suggested Citation

  • Pao-Li Chang, 2004. "The Politics of WTO Enforcement Mechanism," Working Papers 04-2004, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:04-2004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anderson, Kym, 2002. "Peculiarities of retaliation in WTO dispute settlement," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 123-134, July.
    2. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    3. Wilfred J. Ethier, "undated". "Punishment and Dispute Settlement in Trade Agreements," EPRU Working Paper Series 01-14, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    4. Ludema, Rodney D., 2001. "Optimal international trade agreements and dispute settlement procedures," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 355-376, June.
    5. Dan Kovenock & Marie Thursby, 1992. "Gatt, Dispute Settlement And Cooperation," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 151-170, July.
    6. 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.
    7. Pao-Li Chang, 2002. "The Evolution and Utilization of the GATT/WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism," Working Papers 475, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    8. Butler, Monika & Hauser, Heinz, 2000. "The WTO Dispute Settlement System: First Assessment from an Economic Perspective," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 503-533, October.
    9. Giovanni Maggi, 1999. "The Role of Multilateral Institutions in International Trade Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 190-214, March.
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    More about this item


    trade sanction; enforcement failure; compliance; compensation; political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • K33 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - International Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


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