Structure of international cooperation in trade, investment and environment

Harun Onder, Florida International University


This dissertation analyzes the obstacles against further cooperation in international economic relations. The first essay explains the gradual nature of trade liberalization. I show that existence of asymmetric information between governments provides a sufficient reason for gradualism to exist. Governments prefer starting small to reduce the cost of partner’s betrayal when there is sufficient degree of information asymmetry regarding the partner’s type. Learning about partner’s incentive structure enhances expectations, encouraging governments to increase their current level of cooperation. Specifically, the uninformed government’s subjective belief for the trading partner being good is improved as the partner acts cooperatively. This updated belief, in turn, lowers the subjective probability of future betrayal, enabling further progress in cooperation. The second essay analyzes the relationship between two countries facing two policy dilemmas in an environment with two way goods and capital flows. When issues are independent and countries are symmetric, signing separate agreements for tariffs (Free Trade Agreements-FTA) and for taxes (Tax Treaties-TT) provides the identical level of enforcement as signing a linked agreement. However, linkage can still improve the joint welfare by transferring the slack enforcement power in a case of asymmetric issues or countries. I report non-results in two cases where the policy issues are interconnected due to technological spillover effect of FDI. Moreover, I show that linking the agreements actually reduces enforcement when agreements are linked under a limited punishment rule and policy variables are strategic substitutes. The third essay investigates the welfare/enforcement consequences of linking trade and environmental agreements. In the standard literature, linking the agreements generate non-trivial results only when there is structural relation between the issues. I focus on institutional design of the linkage and show that even if environmental aspects of international trade are negligible linking the agreements might still have some interesting welfare implications under current GATT Rules. Specifically, when traded goods are substitutes in consumption, linking the environmental agreement with trade agreement under the Withdrawal of Equivalent Concession Rule (Article XXVIII) will reduce the enforcement. However, enforcement in environmental issue increases when the same rule is implemented in the absence of linkage.

Subject Area

Economics|Economic theory

Recommended Citation

Onder, Harun, "Structure of international cooperation in trade, investment and environment" (2010). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3431305.