The Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium
Maintaining Multilateralism: the politics of dispute initiation at the World Trade Organization
Salary: EUR 2.189,88 - EUR 2.513,13
The successful applicant will conduct PhD research in the framework of the project ‘Maintaining Multilateralism: The Politics of Dispute Initiation at the World Trade Organization’, supervised by Prof. Dr. Dirk De Bièvre (University of Antwerp) and Prof. Dr. Arlo Poletti (University of Trento), and funded by the Research Foundation Flanders FWO.
The multilateral trade regime of the World Trade Organization represents one of the most ‘judicialized’ or ‘legalized’ international institutions.
Multilateralism in trade matters has recently come under threat from several sides: states’ increasing reliance on preferential trade agreements, the contestation of trade policy by NGOs, and the increasingly widespread protectionist rhetoric in political debates within key international trading players.
The rule-based WTO system of liberalization commitments and their enforcement is generally seen as contributing to a level playing field, where stakeholders have equal opportunities to get their rights enforced through legal means. Whereas existing analyses have largely focused on actual disputes, they have largely overlooked that these are only the tip of the iceberg of potential disputes.
This research project aims to bring to the surface and analyse the origins of potential cases out of which governments select topics that lead to the filing of WTO disputes, by investigating how five key members of the WTO - the EU, the US, South Korea, Japan, and Brazil - select their targets in WTO litigation.
To that end, we propose to (1) construct an original dataset of potential WTO disputes (1995-2016), and (2) assess the explanatory power of several hypotheses regarding governments’ decisions to initiate WTO disputes by adopting a mixed-method approach based on a combination of statistical analyses and in-depth case studies.
For a full project description, see https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/staff/dirk-debievre/, under ‘Current research projects’.
Prof. Dr. Dirk De Bièvre