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Suspiciously Timed Trade Disputes

On 24th April 2017 (1-2pm) Georg Kirchsteiger, Professor of Microeconomics at the European Center of Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) of the free University of Brussel, will give a presentation about “Suspiciously Timed Trade Disputes". This time the presentation takes place in Q5.245. Afterwards, Mr. Kirchsteiger will be available for questions and discussions. His presentation is part of


This paper shows that electoral incentives crucially affect the initiation of trade disputes. Focusing on WTO disputes led by the United States during the 1995-2014 period, we find that U.S. presidents are more likely to initiate a dispute in the year preceding their re-election. Moreover, U.S. trade disputes are more likely to involve industries that are important in swing states. To explain these regularities, we develop a theoretical model in which re-election motives can lead an incumbent politician to file trade disputes to appeal to voters motivated by reciprocity.

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