The Evolution of the Trade Regime

Politics, Law, and Economics of the GATT and the WTO

by John H. Barton, Judith L. Goldstein, Timothy E. Josling, Richard H. Steinberg

The Evolution of the Trade Regime offers a comprehensive political-economic history of the development of the world's multilateral trade institutions, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO). While other books confine themselves to describing contemporary GATT/WTO legal rules or analyzing their economic logic, this is the first to explain the logic and development behind these rules.

The book begins by examining the institutions' rules, principles, practices, and norms from their genesis in the early postwar period to the present. It evaluates the extent to which changes in these institutional attributes have helped maintain or rebuild domestic constituencies for open markets.

The book considers these questions by looking at the political, legal, and economic foundations of the trade regime from many angles. The authors conclude that throughout most of GATT/WTO history, power politics fundamentally shaped the creation and evolution of the GATT/WTO system. Yet in recent years, many aspects of the trade regime have failed to keep pace with shifts in underlying material interests and ideas, and the challenges presented by expanding membership and preferential trade agreements.

  • Princeton University Press; December 2010
  • ISBN: 9781400837892
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: The Evolution of the Trade Regime
  • Author: John H. Barton; Judith L. Goldstein; Timothy E. Josling; Richard H. Steinberg
  • Imprint: Princeton University Press

In The Press

"Well organized and well written, this book is readily accessible to an intelligent, non-specialist policy readership. It covers, in a very compendious fashion, a broad sweep of issues in tracing the evolution of the multilateral GATT/WTO system up to the present day."—Michael Trebilcock, University of Toronto

About The Author

John H. Barton is George E. Osborne Professor of Law Emeritus at Stanford University Law School. Judith L. Goldstein is professor of political science at Stanford University. Timothy E. Josling is senior fellow at the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies and emeritus professor at the Food Research Institute at Stanford University. Richard H. Steinberg is professor at UCLA School of Law.