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American Economic Review: Vol. 89 No. 1 (March 1999)

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The Role of Multilateral Institutions in International Trade Cooperation

Article Citation

Maggi, Giovanni. 1999. "The Role of Multilateral Institutions in International Trade Cooperation." American Economic Review, 89(1): 190-214.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.89.1.190

Abstract

The World Trade Organization (WFO) lacks the power to directly enforce agreements. It is, therefore, important to understand what role the WTO can play to facilitate international cooperation and whether a multilateral institution can offer distinct advantages over a web of bilateral agreements. This paper examines two potential benefits of a multilateral trade institution: first, verifying violations of the agreements and informing third parties, thus facilitating multilateral reputation mechanisms; second, promoting multilateral trade negotiations rather than a web of bilateral negotiations. The model suggests that a multilateral approach is particularly important when there are strong imbalances in bilateral trading relationships.

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Authors

Maggi, Giovanni (Princeton U)

JEL Classifications

F13: Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations


American Economic Review


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