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Journal article
Suspiciously timed trade disputes

March 2017
Paper No' :

Tags: elections; reciprocity; trade disputes

This paper shows that electoral incentives crucially affect the initiation of trade disputes. Focusing on WTO disputes filed 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. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.