SMU ECONOMICS & STATISTICS WORKING PAPER SERIES Paper No. 21-2007
This paper provides a theoretical framework of dispute settlement to explain the surge in blocking incidence of GATT panel reports during the 1980s and the variations in withdrawn incidence versus total disputes across different decades of the GATT regime. The study first suggests the role of the degree of legal controversy over a panel ruling in determining countries’ incentives to block (appeal) a panel report under the GATT (WTO) regime. The study then analyzes the effects of political power on countries’ incentives to use, and their interactions in using, the dispute settlement mechanism, when two-sided asymmetric information exists regarding panel judgement.