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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1444385
 
 

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Does Legal Capacity Matter? A Survey of WTO Members


Marc L. Busch


Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS); Georgetown University - Department of Government

Eric Reinhardt


Emory University - Department of Political Science

Gregory Shaffer


University of California, Irvine School of Law

August 5, 2009

World Trade Review, 2009
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-31

Abstract:     
Previous studies of WTO dispute settlement have sought to evaluate whether a Member’s legal capacity influences its odds of bringing litigation before the multilateral trade regime. Because direct measures of legal capacity are elusive, these studies have had to use indirect proxies, such as per capita income or number of delegates in Geneva. Yet, the reliability of these measures is questionable. To gauge legal capacity more directly, we surveyed all WTO Members, posing questions concerning their professional staff; bureaucratic organization at home; bureaucratic organization in Geneva; experience handling general WTO matters; and involvement in WTO litigation. Using responses from this survey, we constructed an index of Members’ WTO legal capacity that speaks more fully to the challenges of dispute settlement than do commonly used proxies, none of which are strongly correlated with our measure. We supplemented this survey with over three dozen semi-structured interviews with Members’ representatives in Geneva, the results of which bear out the importance of properly measuring legal capacity.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: legal capacity, power and international law, WTO, dispute settlement

JEL Classification: F02, F1

working papers series





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Date posted: August 25, 2009 ; Last revised: September 2, 2009

Suggested Citation

Busch, Marc L. and Reinhardt, Eric and Shaffer, Gregory, Does Legal Capacity Matter? A Survey of WTO Members (August 5, 2009). World Trade Review, 2009; Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-31. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1444385 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1444385

Contact Information

Marc L. Busch
Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )
Washington, DC 20057
United States
Georgetown University - Department of Government ( email )
ICC, Suite 681
Washington, DC 20057-1034
United States
Eric Reinhardt
Emory University - Department of Political Science ( email )
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
Gregory C. Shaffer (Contact Author)
University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )
401 E. Peltason
Irvine, CA 92612
United States
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