The Rhetoric of Legitimacy: Mapping Members’ Expressed Views on the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism

iCourts Working Paper Series, No. 16

55 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2015 Last revised: 8 Jan 2016

See all articles by Cosette D. Creamer

Cosette D. Creamer

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Political Science; University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law; Harvard University - Department of Government; Boston University School of Law

Zuzanna Godzimirska

University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law, iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts, Students

Date Written: February 9, 2015

Abstract

Since the inception of the WTO, many have speculated on how the Dispute Settlement Mechanism's practices affect its legitimacy and suggested proposals to strengthen it in this respect. However, very few of these proposals are grounded in empirical evidence of what makes the Mechanism legitimate in the eyes of different constituents. Drawing on an original dataset of all statements made by WTO Members within meetings of the Dispute Settlement Body from 1995-2013 and a series of interviews, this paper provides a descriptive analysis of the aggregate and relative views on the DSM's exercise of authority over time and across actors. In addition, through an in-depth analysis of statements on focal reports, this paper sheds new light on the sources of an international court's legitimacy by identifying practices that contribute to reducing or enhancing the DSM's legitimacy in the eyes of its primary constituents – WTO Members.

Suggested Citation

Creamer, Cosette D. and Godzimirska, Zuzanna, The Rhetoric of Legitimacy: Mapping Members’ Expressed Views on the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism (February 9, 2015). iCourts Working Paper Series, No. 16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2560780 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2560780

Cosette D. Creamer

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Political Science ( email )

1414 Social Sciences
267 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Boston University School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Zuzanna Godzimirska (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law, iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts, Students ( email )

Studiestraede 6
Copenhagen, DK-1455
Denmark

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