Depth versus Rigidity in the Design of International Trade Agreements

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 26 (3): 468-495, 2014

28 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2013 Last revised: 26 Feb 2015

See all articles by Leslie Johns

Leslie Johns

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

I examine the impact of depth and rigidity in international trade agreements. Increasing the depth of required cooperation lowers the likelihood of full compliance and the stability of a trade regime. In contrast, increasing the rigidity of an agreement raises the likelihood of full compliance and lowers stability. Both depth and rigidity can lower tariffs if a state does not defect from its treaty obligations. I argue that if we control for the benefits of trade liberalization, then observable treaties will have a negative relationship between depth and rigidity. Deep agreements will be flexible, while shallow agreements will be rigid.

Keywords: preferential trade agreement, compliance, stability, international law, international trade

JEL Classification: K33, F1

Suggested Citation

Johns, Leslie, Depth versus Rigidity in the Design of International Trade Agreements (2014). Journal of Theoretical Politics, 26 (3): 468-495, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2242564 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2242564

Leslie Johns (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science ( email )

405 Hilgard Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1472
United States

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