Dissertation Defense: Fouad Pervez
Friday, April 21 at 2:30pm to 4:30pm
Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Intercultural Center, 662 37th and O St., N.W., Washington
Candidate Name: Fouad Pervez
Advisor:Michael Bailey, Ph.D.
Title: Three Papers on Politics and International Dispute Settlement
There is a wide degree of variation in how countries behave with respect to international dispute settlement. This includes the time they wait before initiating a dispute, as well as their actions with the dispute settlement process itself. Through a series of three papers, I argue that this variation in the nature of international dispute settlement is influenced by politics. I tackle three puzzles, focusing on the World Trade Organization (WTO): why does the time countries wait to initiate disputes after trade violations vary so widely, why do countries frequently abandon WTO disputes despite their costs, and why is there such a wide degree of variation in litigation strategy of disputes at the WTO? First I argue that countries initiate disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as they approach domestic elections, in an effort to gain support from major industries, and that developing countries are the most likely to use this tactic. Second, I argue that countries abandon disputes at the WTO when they are confronted with countersuits. Third, I argue that countries employ a ``kitchen sink" approach to politically-motivated election-year disputes, putting forth more legal claims in these cases, but that the main powers at the WTO do not employ this tactic. I test these theories through statistical analysis in three separate papers, and find evidence that politics do play a role in all three puzzles. I show that the design of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism (DSM) allows for unintended politics, while adhering to the overall goals of the institution.
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