World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement

Below is information on official data sources and several databases on World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement.

Official Sources

Both WTO and the World Bank maintain extensive trade and tariffs data. WTO also maintains a list of all the dispute cases in the WTO dispute settlement system.

Research Data

Henrik Horn and Petros C. Mavroidis’ WTO Dispute Settlement dataset 1995-2006 contains several hundred variables, providing information on various aspects of the legal procedure in the dispute settlement system. The dataset has been compiled on the basis of official WTO documents available on the WTO website and the project has been financed by the World Bank. Codebook and dataset are available at the World Bank's webpage.

Busch and Reinhardt (2003) examine how developing countries have fared in dispute settlements. They ask two questions: “Have developing countries secured more concessions, by which states mean favourable trade policy outcomes, in WTO versus GATT dispute settlement?” and “what explains any differences in the outcomes realized by developing, as opposed to developed countries?” (p. 719). They use a dataset on 380 concluded GATT/WTO disputes filed from 1 January 1980 to 21 December 2000 where 154 occurred under WTO rules. The list of participants includes a wide variety of countries. The codebook and dataset are available at Eric Reinhardt's webpage.

Eric Reinhardt has also done a lot of other studies on GATT and the WTO dispute settlement. At his webpage, you can find available articles and dataset.

Johns and Pelc (2015) use data from the WTO disputes to study why not more countries affected by a trade dispute join litigation as a “third party” to gain access to otherwise private negotiations. To measure trade stakes they measure the level of export for the product at issue, from each country to the defendant’s market . For measuring products at issue in each dispute, they update the Horn and Mavroidis (2011) dataset, hosted by the World Bank. They also use the Comtrade database, accessed through the World Integrated Trade Solution. Using these data, they create the trade stake variable which is defined as the absolute logged amount of exports at stake for each state in the year prior to the dispute’s initiation. Codebook and dataset are available at The Journal of Politics Dataverse at the Harvard Dataverse webpage.  

The database from Bown and Reynolds (2014) “Trade Flows and Trade Disputes” maps information on the policies that triggered WTO dispute settlement actions between 1995 and 2011 to highly disaggregated, product-level trade data so as to potentially learn from more precise measures of market access. This mapping includes three important elements i) information on the timing of the respondent’s policy change which triggered the dispute; ii) information on the different types of WTO-violating policies imposed, particularly whether they are ‘global’ policies (imposed against all trading partners) or “partial” policies (imposed against a subset of trading partners); and iii) the value, volume, and calculated unit values of imports from all trading partners directly impacted by the respondent’s policy change. In their paper from 2015, they introduce their dataset and establish a set of basic facts and patterns regarding the ‘trade’ that countries fight about under WTO dispute settlement. The database is available at the World Bank's webpage.


Tags: international trade
Published Apr. 25, 2017 2:45 PM - Last modified Apr. 25, 2017 2:45 PM