NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Purpose of Trade Agreements

Gene M. Grossman

NBER Working Paper No. 22070
Issued in March 2016
NBER Program(s):International Trade and Investment

This paper reviews the literature on governments' motivations for negotiating and joining international trade agreements. I discuss both normative explanations for trade agreements and explanations based on political-economy concerns. Most of the paper focuses on the purpose of multilateral agreements, but I do discuss briefly the reasons we might see governments forming preferential or regional trade agreements that exclude some countries.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22070

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