Governance in International Trade: Judicialisation and Positive Integration in the WTO

Research question/goal: 

The research question of the project was under which circumstance positive integration – understood as the correction of negative externalities of market integration – is possible in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In particular, we investigated to what extent the degree of judicialization of the WTO, meaning the presence of binding third party adjudication, has an influence on the behaviour of states to regulations of positive integration into the realm of the WTO. In doing so, we first started with an extensive literature review and an analysis of quantitative data of WTO dispute settlement proceedings. These results were complemented with a wide range of interviews with experts of international organisations conversant with different policy fields. The project first of demonstrated that enforcement mechanisms of international organisations show different degrees of judicialization and thus enforceability. The more judicialized the procedures are, the less possibilities for political-diplomatic influence exists and the harder different policy issues are negotiated. In the international trading regime this leads to a situation in which different degrees of judicialization have a decisive impact on where states want to locate regulations of positive integration: states shop around different forums in order to locate specific regulatory measures according to the desired degree of enforceability.

Fact sheet

2005 to 2009
Data Sources: 
secondary literature, quantitative data on WTO dispute settlement, expert interviews
Geographic Space: 
WTO member states, European Union