NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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The Design of Trade Agreements

Kyle Bagwell, Robert W. Staiger

NBER Working Paper No. 22087
Issued in March 2016
NBER Program(s):International Trade and Investment Program

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22087

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