The Design of Trade Agreements

91 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2016 Last revised: 9 May 2021

See all articles by Kyle Bagwell

Kyle Bagwell

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert W. Staiger

Stanford University; University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: March 2016

Abstract

What does economics have to say about the design of international trade agreements? We review a literature on this question, providing detailed coverage on three key design features of the GATT/WTO: reciprocity, nondiscrimination as embodied in the MFN principle, and tariff bindings and binding "overhang." Each of these features is central to the design of the GATT/WTO, and we argue that an economic perspective can go a long way toward revealing a consistent logic to the inclusion of these design features in trade agreements.

Suggested Citation

Bagwell, Kyle and Staiger, Robert W., The Design of Trade Agreements (March 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22087, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2752292

Kyle Bagwell (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
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Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Robert W. Staiger

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics ( email )

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Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-262-2265 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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