The WTO And Institutional (In)Coherence In Global Economic Governance

Steven Bernstein and Erin Hannah

in The Oxford Handbook on The World Trade Organization

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199586103
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 The WTO And Institutional (In)Coherence In Global Economic Governance

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This article explores institutional cooperation in global economic governance to address two fundamental questions: Where do the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) overlap or compete with those of other institutions? What explains institutional coherence/incoherence between the WTO and other international organizations? It analyses the relationship of the WTO with different institutions, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization, and different issue areas, ranging from finance and aid, to intellectual property rights, and environmental and social regulations. The article argues that, in certain areas, which parties have directly targeted to facilitate trade liberalization, the WTO has a regulatory role to play in cooperation with other relevant institutions. But in areas such as social and environmental regulation, where the goal of regulation is to ‘embed’ economic governance in broader societal goals, coherence would be best achieved if states ensured that WTO rules continued to leave space for a global division of labour and allowed alternative institutions to do the regulating.

Keywords: institutional cooperation; economic governance; institutional coherence; Intellectual Property Organization; World Trade Organization; environmental regulation; finance; aid; intellectual property rights; trade liberalization

Article.  15193 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations ; Political Economy

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