Discussion paper

DP11151 The Purpose of Trade Agreements

This paper reviews the literature on governments' motivations for negotiating and joining international trade agreements. I discuss both normative explanations for trade agreements and explanations based on political-economy concerns. Most of the paper focuses on the purpose of multilateral agreements, but I do discuss briefly the reasons we might see governments forming preferential or regional trade agreements that exclude some countries.


Grossman, G (2016), ‘DP11151 The Purpose of Trade Agreements‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11151. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11151