NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Alan O. Sykes

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Working Papers

July 2013How Important can the Non-Violation Clause be for the GATT/WTO?
with Robert W. Staiger: w19256
The "non-violation" clause was a major focus of the drafters of GATT in 1947, and its relevance was revisited and reaffirmed with the creation of the WTO in 1995. And according to the terms-of-trade theory of trade agreements, it has an important role to play in facilitating the success of the "shallow integration" approach that the GATT/WTO has adopted. Yet despite the prominence given to the non-violation clause by its legal drafters and suggested by economic theory, in GATT/WTO practice the observed performance of the non-violation complaint has been weak. Can a model account for the observed features of the usage and outcomes of non-violation claims? And if so, what is implied by these weak performance measures about the (on- and off-) equilibrium impacts of the non-violation clause on...
November 2009International Trade and Domestic Regulation
with Robert W. Staiger: w15541
Existing formal models of the relationship between trade policy and regulatory policy suggest the potential for a regulatory race to the bottom. WTO rules and disputes, however, center on complaints about excessively stringent regulations. This paper bridges the gap between the existing formal literature and the actual pattern of rules and disputes. Employing the terms-of-trade framework for the modeling of trade agreements, we show how "large" nations may have an incentive to impose discriminatory product standards against imported goods once border instruments are constrained, and how inefficiently stringent standards may emerge under certain circumstances even if regulatory discrimination is prohibited. We then assess the WTO legal framework in light of our results, arguing that it doe...

Published: International Trade, National Treatment and Domestic Regulation (with Alan Sykes), Journal of Legal Studies, January 2011

December 2008"Currency Manipulation" and World Trade
with Robert W. Staiger: w14600
Central bank intervention in foreign exchange markets may, under some conditions, stimulate exports and retard imports. In the past few years, this issue has moved to center stage because of the foreign exchange policies of China. China has regularly intervened to prevent the RMB from appreciating relative to other currencies, and over the same period has developed large global and bilateral trade surpluses. Numerous public officials and commentators argue that China has engaged in impermissible "currency manipulation," and various proposals for stiff action against China have been advanced. This paper clarifies the theoretical relationship between exchange rate policy and international trade, and addresses the question of what content can be given to the concept of "currency manipulat...

Published: Staiger, Robert W. & Sykes, Alan O., 2010. "‘Currency manipulation’ and world trade," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(04), pages 583-627, October. citation courtesy of

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