The Domestic Politics of Institutional Design: Producer Preferences over Trade Agreement Rules

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

What explains variation in the design of international institutions? Recent literature shows that providing members with opportunities to shirk their contractual obligations actually promotes agreement formation and durability. Yet, in spite of these benefits, institutions continue to exhibit wide variation in the "flexibility" of their rules. I show that, in the context of preferential trade agreements (PTAs), the benefits of permitting escape are enjoyed unevenly across the market. In particular, import-competing industries gain from the protection that escape clauses provide while their export-dependent counterparts bear the costs. This asymmetry creates domestic political competition over agreement design between the two traded sectors of the market. I explore this competition using new data on the design of 330 PTA agreements since 1960.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-118
Number of pages24
JournalEconomics and Politics
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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