What are the political gains from trade agreements and what is their economic value in turn?


The current round of multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) seems to have stalled. Observers and researchers have noted that part of the reason is that the economic gains to be made from the current round of negotiations are relatively low after the previous eight rounds of GATT and WTO negotiations.

However, these claims are made based on economic gains from trade liberalization through their impact on import and export flows. However, political gains from trade agreements, associated with problems of credibility, signalling, and insurance can have a very significant economic value that has been neglected by studies and analysis so far. This research project provided an estimate of the economic importance of those political gains from trade agreements.

Project Keywords

  • Political negotiations
  • Trade
  • Economic gains
  • GATT
  • Liberalisation
  • Multilateral trade
  • Trade agreement


  • Diplomacy
  • Economics
  • Political science

Relevant Countries

  • All countries


This project, started in 2008, has been completed.

Contact the project team

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Research team

Marcelo Olarreaga
University of Geneva

Olivier Cadot
Principal Member

Alessandro Nicita
Principal Member

Mathias Thoenig
Principal Member
University of Geneva