The Economic Structure of International Trade-In-Services Agreements

48 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2017

See all articles by Robert W. Staiger

Robert W. Staiger

Stanford University; University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Alan Sykes

Stanford University - Law School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 1, 2016


The existing economics literature on international trade agreements focuses on tariff agreements covering trade in goods, and offers an explanation for core features of the GATT. Tariffs play almost no role in services markets, however, and the existing models cannot account for the dramatically different approach to trade liberalization in agreements such as the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). We develop a model through which key features of GATS, including its emphasis on "deep integration" — sector-by-sector negotiations on behind the border policy instruments — can be understood. And we use this model to suggest that there may also be a middle ground for services trade liberalization between the GATS deep-integration approach and the traditional border-policy focused "shallow integration" approach of GATT.

Suggested Citation

Staiger, Robert W. and Sykes, Alan, The Economic Structure of International Trade-In-Services Agreements (December 1, 2016). Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 503. Available at SSRN:

Robert W. Staiger

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-262-2265 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Alan Sykes (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

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