Publications

Working Paper
Christina L. Davis. Working Paper. “Deterring Disputes: WTO Adjudication as a Tool for Conflict Management”.Abstract

An eective legal system not only solves specic disputes but also inhibits future violations. This paper examines how the WTO dispute settlment process resolves specic disputes and reduces their future occurrence. First, the process of selecting cases to escalate in the legal venue reveals information about the preferences of defendant and complainant. A third party arbitrator and multilateral membership adds international obligation and reputation as new leverage for compliance. Second, a formal dispute mechanism may have broader impact if the adjudication of one case leads to other countries reforming policies. Each dispute case claries interpretation of the law and enhances the credibility of enforcement.

This paper examines WTO dispute settlement to assess the role of courts to solve disputes and prevent future incidents. The eectiveness of WTO dispute settlement to resolve disputes is tested with statistical analysis of an original dataset of potential trade disputes coded from U.S. government reports on foreign trade barriers. Evidence shows that taking a dispute to the legal forum brings policy change in comparison with outcomes achieved in bilateral negotiations. In addition, past WTO disputes shape the subsequent pattern of trade barriers. Looking more broadly, the declining frequency of complaints led by all members from 1995 to 2015 is consistent with the deterrence argument. While some areas of law encounter repeat litigation, standards and new agreements have shown more resilient enforcement. Furthermore, analysis of the ling patterns from 1975 to 2012 suggests that the increase of legalization in the WTO has established deterrence eects that were absent in the GATT period. Looking more closely at individual cases, the paper evaluates how past complaints serve to clarify the law and increase the credibility of enforcement.

davis2016.pdf
Christina L. Davis. Working Paper. “Japan: Interest Group Politics, Foreign Policy Linkages, and the TPP”. davis2018_forthcomingeditedvolume.pdf
Christina L. Davis. Working Paper. “Membership Conditionality and Institutional Reform: The Case of the OECD”.Abstract
Conditional membership may be one of the most important sources of leverage for IOs. What underlies the terms of selection and the willingness of applicants to pay the price of entry? The influence of accession conditions has been studied in the context of EU and NATO, where sizable benefits motivate major concessions by applicants. This paper examines a much less powerful organization, the OECD. The organization provides both public goods in the form of policy information and club goods in the form of status. Through a process of self-selection by applicants and screening by members, the organization has managed gradual expansion while preserving its value as an elite club of like-minded states. Informality of accession criteria has allowed flexibility to raise and lower the bar for entry. Statistical analysis highlights broad conditions related to income, democracy, and geopolitics that correlate with earlier entry into the OECD relative to other countries while there are less clear patterns for the role of trade and financial openness. Case studies of Japan, Mexico, Korea, and the Czech Republic are used to examine how prospective OECD membership motivated reforms in regulatory policies and trade. These countries sought to benefit from the status of association with the advanced industrial democracies. On the basis of shared liberal orientation and geopolitical alignment, these outsiders were accepted into the club. At the same time, a case study of Brazil highlights how its refusal to seek OECD membership reflects a political preference to remain distant from the advanced industrial nations even as its economy and policies are more integrated with these states.
davis2016b.pdf
Christina L. Davis and Tyler Pratt. Working Paper. “The Forces of Attraction: How Security Interests Shape Membership in Economic Institutions”.Abstract
Multilateral institutions manage interdependence among states as they seek mutual gains from cooperation. But access to institutions is closely guarded by states, which exploit membership discrimination to exclude rivals and confer benefits to favored partners. We argue that bargaining over accession facilitates linkages between security interests and other issue areas regulated by institutions. Our argument departs from the functional expectation that states choose partners who offer the greatest gains from policy adjustment, and instead highlights the role of geopolitical alignment. Analyzing membership patterns for 89 multilateral economic organizations, we find that security ties
shape which states join and remain in organizations. We use a finite mixture model to examine the relative importance of economic and security considerations, finding that geopolitical alignment accounts for about half of the membership decisions in economic institutions. The geopolitical origins of IGO membership represent a new mechanism connecting the security and economic behavior of states.
davispratt_forces_june2019.pdf
2019
Christina L. Davis, Andreas Fuchs, and Kristina Johnson. 2019. “State Control and the Effects of Foreign Relations on Bilateral Trade.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 63, 2, Pp. 405-438.Abstract
Can governments still use trade to reward and punish partner countries? While World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and the pressures of globalization restrict states’ capacity to manipulate trade policies, politicization of trade is likely to occur where governments intervene in markets. We examine state ownership of firms as one tool of government control. Taking China and India as examples, we use new data on bilateral trade disaggregated by firm ownership type as well as measures of political relations based on bilateral events and United Nations voting data to estimate the effect of political relations on import flows since the early 1990s. Our results support the hypothesis that imports controlled by state-owned enterprises are more responsive to political relations than imports controlled by private enterprises. This finding suggests that politicized import decisions will increase as countries with partially state-controlled economies gain strength in the global economy. Extending our analysis to exports for comparison, we find a similar pattern for Indian but not for Chinese exports and offer potential explanations for these differential findings. 
davisetal2019_jcr.pdf
2018
Christina L. Davis. 9/5/2018. “Boeiki senso no ikikatta, (On the Way to a Trade War).” Nihon Keizai Shimbun. davis_nihonkeizaishimbun_5sept2018.pdf
Christina Davis. 3/9/2018. “It is Up to China to Save the Global Trading System.” Financial Times. davis_ft_9mar2018.pdf
Christina L. Davis and Julia Morse. 2018. “Protecting Trade By Legalizing Political Disputes: Why Countries Bring Cases to International Court of Justice.” International Studies Quarterly, 68, Pp. 709-722.Abstract
How does economic interdependence shape political relations? We show a new pathway to support a commercial peace in which economic interdependence changes strategies for conflict management. The uncertainty arising from political disputes between countries can depress trade flows. As states seek to protect trade from such negative effects, they are more likely to bring their disputes to legal venues. We assess this argument by analyzing why countries bring cases to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Using data on 190 countries from 1960 to 2013, we find that countries are more likely to file ICJ cases against important trading partners than against states with low levels of shared trade. We conclude that economic interdependence changes the incentives for how states resolve their disputes.
davismorse2018_final.pdf
2017
Christina Davis. 11/10/2017. From Follower to Leader: Japan in the TPP, Pp. 13-16. New York: Abe Fellowship Program, SSRC. davis2017_ssrc.pdf
Christina Davis. 4/2017. “Make Trade Great Again: America Needs New Strategies to Address International Trade.” First Year: Where the President Begins 10. davis_april2017_fy2017.pdf
Christina L. Davis and Meredith Wilf. 2017. “Joining the Club: Accession to the GATT/WTO.” Journal of Politics, 79, 3, Pp. 964-978.Abstract
Which states join international institutions? Existing theories of the multilateral trade regime, the GATT/WTO, emphasize gains from cooperation on substantive policies regulated by the institution. We argue that political ties rather than issue-area functional gains determine who joins, and we show how geopolitical alignment shapes the demand and supply sides of membership. Discretionary accession rules allow members to selectively recruit some countries in pursuit of foreign policy goals, and common interests attract applicants who are not yet free traders.We use a duration model to statistically analyze accession time to application and length of accession negotiations for the period 1948–2014. Our findings challenge the view that states first liberalize trade to join the GATT/WTO. Instead, democracy and foreign policy similarity encourage states to join. The importance of political ties for membership in the trade regime suggests that theories of international institutions must look beyond narrowly defined institutional scope.
daviswilf2017_jop.pdf
Christina L. Davis and Krzysztof Pelc. 2017. “Cooperation in Hard Times: Self-restraint of Trade Protection.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 61, 2, Pp. 398-429.Abstract
Hard times give rise to greater demand for protection. International trade rules include provisions that allow for raising barriers to aid industries when they suffer economic injury. Yet widespread use of flexibility measures may undermine the trade system and worsen economic conditions. How do states balance these conflicting pressures? This article assesses the effect of crises on cooperation in trade. We hypothesize that governments impose less protectionism during economic crisis when economic troubles are widespread across countries than when they face crisis in isolation. The lesson of Smoot–Hawley and coordination through international economic institutions represent mechanisms of informal governance that encourage cooperation to avoid a spiral of protectionism. Analysis of industry-level data on protection measures for the period from 1996 to 2011 provides support for our claim that under conditions of shared hard times, states exercise strategic self-restraint to avoid beggar-thy-neighbor policies.
davispelc2017_jcr.pdf
Christina L. Davis. 2017. “Foreign Policy and Trade Law: Japan's Unexpected Leadership in TPP Negotiations.” Proceedings of the American Society of Law Annual Meeting, 111, Pp. 90-92. davis2017_asil.pdf
Christina L. Davis, Andreas Fuchs, and Kris Johnson. 2017. “State Control and the Effects of Foreign Relations on Bilateral Trade.” Journal of Conflict Resolution.Abstract
Can governments still use trade to reward and punish partner countries? While World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and the pressures of globalization restrict states’ capacity to manipulate trade policies, politicization of trade is likely to occur where governments intervene in markets. We examine state ownership of firms as one tool of government control. Taking China and India as examples, we use new data on bilateral trade disaggregated by firm ownership type as well as measures of political relations based on bilateral events and United Nations voting data to estimate the effect of political relations on import flows since the early 1990s. Our results support the hypothesis that imports controlled by state-owned enterprises are more responsive to political relations than imports controlled by private enterprises. This finding suggests that politicized import decisions will increase as countries with partially state-controlled economies gain strength in the global economy. Extending our analysis to exports for comparison, we find a similar pattern for Indian but not for Chinese exports and offer potential explanations for these differential findings.
davisetal2017.pdf
2015
Christina L. Davis. 2015. “The Political Logic of Dispute Settlement: Introduction to the Special Issue.” Review of International Organizations, 10, 2, Pp. 107-118. davis2015_roio.pdf
Christina L. Davis and Meredith Wilf. 2015. “WTO Membership.” In The Oxford Handbook of the Political Economy of International Trade. Oxford: Oxford University Press. daviswilf2015.pdf
2012
Why Adjudicate? Enforcing Trade Rules in the WTO
Christina L. Davis. 2012. Why Adjudicate? Enforcing Trade Rules in the WTO. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's Website
2011
Christina L. Davis and Sophie Meunier. 2011. “Business as Usual? Economic Responses to Political Tensions.” American Journal of Political Science, 55, 3, Pp. 628-646.Abstract

Do political tensions harm economic relations? Theories claim that trade prevents war and political relations motivate trade, but less is known about whether smaller shifts in political relations impact economic exchange. Looking at two major economies, we show that negative events have not hurt U.S. or Japanese trade or investment flows.We then examine specific incidents of tensions in U.S.-French and Sino-Japanese relations over the past decade—two case pairs that allow us to compare varying levels of political tension given high existing economic interdependence and different alliance relations. Aggregate economic flows and high salience sectors like wine and autos are unaffected by the deterioration of political relations. In an era of globalization, actors lack incentives to link political and economic relations.We argue that sunk costs in existing trade and investment make governments, firms, and consumers unlikely to change their behavior in response to political disputes.

Supporting Information

Japan events data

Japan events log file

US events data

US events log file

Codebook

davismeunier2011_ajps.pdf
2010
Christina L. Davis. 2/2010. “Cashing in on Cooperation: Democracy, Free Trade, and International Rules.” Harvard International Review. davis_winter2010_hir.pdf
2009
Christina L. Davis. 2009. “Overlapping Institutions in Trade Policy.” Perspectives on Politics, 7, 1, Pp. 25-31.Abstract
This article examines the effect of overlapping institutions in trade policy, where theWorld Trade Organization, preferential trade agreements, and other economic negotiation venues give states many options for negotiating rules and settling disputes. This article argues that overlapping institutions influence trade politics at three stages: selection of venue, negotiation of liberalization commitments, and enforcement of compliance. First, lobby groups and governments on both sides of a trade negotiation try to choose the set of rules that will favor their preferred outcome. WTO rules that restrict use of coercive tactics outside of the WTO generate a selection process that filters the most difficult trade issues into WTO trade rounds or dispute adjudication while easier issues are settled in bilateral and regional fora. This selection dynamic creates a challenge at the negotiation stage by disaggregating interest group pressure for liberalization commitments. The narrowing of interest group lobbying for the multilateral process may impede negotiation of liberalization agreements that could only gain political support through a broad coalition of exporter mobilization. At the enforcement stage international regime complexity creates the potential for contradictory legal rulings that undermine compliance, but also adds greater penalties for noncompliance if reputation effects operate across agreements.
davis2009_pop.pdf

Pages