Discussion paper

DP10687 Coercive Trade Policy

Empirical evidence suggests trade coercion exercised unilaterally is significantly less likely to induce concessions than coercion exercised through an international organization. In this paper we build a two-country model of coercion that can provide a rationale for this finding, and for how ``weak'' international institutions might be effective, even if their rulings cannot be directly enforced. In particular we show that if coercion is unilateral, the country requesting the policy change will demand a concession so substantial to make it unacceptable to its partner, and a trade war will ensue. If the parties can instead commit to an international organization (IO), compliance is more likely, because the potential IO ruling places a cap on the Foreign government's incentives to signal its resolve.


Facchini, G and V Anesi (2015), ‘DP10687 Coercive Trade Policy‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 10687. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp10687