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. “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 Yeling Tan. Working Paper. “The Limits of Liberalization: WTO Entry and Chinese State-Owned Firms”.Abstract

Does state ownership reduce the effectiveness of trade agreements? We examine the case of China, which is not only the world's largest trading nation but also lends active support to its SOEs, potentially distorting global trade. Using Chinese import data disaggregated by firm ownership, we analyze how state-ownership conditions the response to entry into the WTO. We demonstrate that after WTO entry, tariff cuts have a larger effect on private compared to SOE trade. We then show that state ownership alone does not block the liberalizing effects of the WTO. For most industries, SOEs display a commercial orientation that is similar to private firms. However, where strategic goods targeted by industrial policy hold a large share of bilateral trade, lowering tariffs has no impact on SOE trade. In short, the effect of WTO liberalization depends on the countervailing force of domestic industrial policy, rather than state ownership alone.

tandavis_limits_of_liberalization.pdf
2020
Christina L. Davis and Tyler Pratt. 9/15/2020. “The Forces of Attraction: How Security Interests Shape Membership in Economic Institutions.” The Review of International Organizations. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The link between security and economic exchange is widely recognized. But when and how much do geopolitical interests matter for economic cooperation? While existing work focuses on bilateral trade and aid, we examine how geopolitics shapes membership in multilateral economic organizations. We demonstrate that substantial discrimination occurs as states welcome or exclude states based on foreign policy similarity. Biased selection of members can politicize economic cooperation despite multilateral norms of non-discrimination. We test the geopolitical origins of institutional membership by analyzing new data on membership patterns for 231 economic organizations from 1949 – 2014. Evidence shows that security ties shape which states join and remain in organizations at both the formation and enlargement stages. We use a finite mixture model to compare the relative power of economic and geopolitical considerations, finding that geopolitical alignment accounts for nearly half of the membership decisions in economic institutions.

davis-pratt_roio2020.pdf
Landscapes of Law: Practicing Sovereignty in Transnational Terrain
Carol J. Greenhouse and Christina L. Davis. 2020. Landscapes of Law: Practicing Sovereignty in Transnational Terrain. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press. Publisher's Version
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
Christina L. Davis. 2019. “Japan: Interest Group Politics, Foreign Policy Linkages, and the TPP.” In Megaregulation Contested: Global Economic Ordering After TPP, edited by Benedict Kingsbury, David M. Malone, Paul Mertenskötter, Richard B. Stewart, Thomas Streinz, and Atsushi Sunami, Pp. 573-591. Oxford : Oxford University Press. davis_oup2019_ch26.pdf
2018
Christina L. Davis. 9/5/2018. “Boeiki senso no yukue, (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

Pages