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Title: Preventing protectionism: International institutions and trade policy
Authors: Baccini, L.
Kim, S.Y. 
Keywords: Economic intergovernmental organizations
International institutions
Issue Date: Dec-2012
Citation: Baccini, L., Kim, S.Y. (2012-12). Preventing protectionism: International institutions and trade policy. Review of International Organizations 7 (4) : 369-398. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This paper examines the role of international institutions in preventing the rise of protectionism. We analyze states' choices in trade policy during the current global economic crisis, a situation likely to exacerbate uncertainty in the conduct of commercial relations and to push countries toward "beggar-thy-neighbor" trade policies. The main argument of the paper is that the numerous international institutions present in the international system during the current economic crisis serve as conveyors of information and mechanisms of commitment and socialization. They mitigate the uncertainty problem that prevails in prisoner's dilemma settings such as trade. Economic international organizations increase the flow of information about the preferences and behaviors of its members. Non-economic organizations also have a role to play as social environments that encourage cooperation. Specialized international institutions devoted to trade, such as the WTO and preferential trade agreements (PTAs), not only provide monitoring and enforcement functions but also lock in commitments to liberal trade through legal obligations that make defections costly. We test our argument using a dataset of trade policies during the current economic crisis and of membership in international organizations. The paper finds strong support for the role of international institutions as commitment and socialization mechanisms in preventing the rise of protectionism. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Source Title: Review of International Organizations
ISSN: 15597431
DOI: 10.1007/s11558-011-9140-7
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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