Who files? Developing country participation in GATT/WTO adjudication

Published

Journal Article

The potential for international law to reduce power asymmetries depends on weaker countries learning to navigate the legal system. This paper examines the use of courts by developing countries to defend their trade interests. Power relations and low capacity may prevent these countries from fully participating in the international trade system. Yet some developing countries have been among the most active participants in GATT/WTO adjudication. We argue that high startup costs for using trade litigation are a barrier to developing country use of the dispute settlement process. Analysis of dispute initiation from 1975 to 2003 shows that past experience in trade adjudication, as either a complainant or a defendant, increases the likelihood that a developing country will initiate disputes. As weaker countries overcome these initial capacity constraints they will increasingly benefit from the international legal structures they have joined. © 2009 Southern Political Science Association.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Davis, CL; Bermeo, SB

Published Date

  • July 1, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 71 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 1033 - 1049

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1468-2508

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3816

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/S0022381609090860

Citation Source

  • Scopus