Suspiciously Timed Trade Disputes

43 Pages Posted: 12 May 2015

See all articles by Paola Conconi

Paola Conconi

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

David DeRemer

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Georg Kirchsteiger

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Lorenzo Trimarchi

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES); Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

Maurizio Zanardi

Lancaster University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 2015

Abstract

This paper shows that electoral incentives affect the occurrence of trade disputes. Focusing on WTO disputes filed by the United States during the 1995-2012 period, we show that U.S. presidents are more likely to initiate a dispute in the year preceding their re-election date. Moreover, disputes filed by the U.S. tend to target industries that are important to swing states in the presidential election. To explain these regularities, we develop a theoretical model in which an incumbent can file a trade dispute to appeal to voters motivated by reciprocity. The incumbent's ability to initiate a dispute during the re-election campaign provides an advantage over the challenger, who cannot commit to file the dispute if elected. If voters' ideological preferences are not too strong in favor of either candidate, the incumbent will file a trade dispute to increase his re-election chances.

Keywords: elections, reciprocity, trade disputes

JEL Classification: D63, D72, D78, F13

Suggested Citation

Conconi, Paola and DeRemer, David and Kirchsteiger, Georg and Trimarchi, Lorenzo and Zanardi, Maurizio, Suspiciously Timed Trade Disputes (May 2015). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10582, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2605017

Paola Conconi (Contact Author)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
32 2 650 2345 (Phone)
32 2 650 4475 (Fax)

David DeRemer

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium

Georg Kirchsteiger

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Av. F. D. Roosevelt 50
CP 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecares.org/people/members/kirchsteiger/kirchsteiger/home.htm

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Lorenzo Trimarchi

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) ( email )

CP 132 Av FD Roosevelt 50
Brussels, Brussels 1050
Belgium

Maurizio Zanardi

Lancaster University - Department of Economics ( email )

Lancaster LA1 4YX, LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/zanardi/

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