19 Oct 2017

IGIR lunch seminar by Wolfgang Giernalczyk on “The Institutional Development of the World Trade Regime”

Wolfgang Giernalczyk will present the findings of his PhD research on the institutional development of the World Trade Regime. 

The presentation provides an insight into how the current institutional design of the WTO emerged as an outcome of the Uruguay Round. Particular attention is paid to design features that relate to delegation of authorities to the WTO in the context of general administrative and decision making structures, dispute settlement and trade policy review. 

Rational institutional theory is used as a starting point to explain the institutional design of the WTO. It is argued that rational approaches provide useful insights about the underlying motives for the creation and design of the WTO, but that they are not sufficient to provide a full explanation of the organizational setup as it eventually emerged from the Uruguay Round negotiations. A full explanation needs to rely on historical process tracing. This includes embedding the Uruguay Round in its wider historical context as well as a close examination of the negotiation dynamics during the Uruguay Round itself. The former highlights the impact of institutional legacy and corresponding path dependencies that resulted from the failure of the ITO and the following institutional development of the GATT. The latter points to the importance of power, which was utilized by the most powerful parties in the negotiation process to shape the institutional design in accordance with their preferences. 

  • PhD researcher: Giernalczyk Wolfgang