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Bargaining coalitions in the WTO agricultural negotiations

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This paper aims to understand the structural features of bargaining coalitions in the Doha Round of the WTO. We provide an empirical assessment of the preferences of each negotiating actor considering general economics indicators, development levels, structure of agricultural sectors and trade policies. Bargaining coalitions are analysed by grouping countries using a cluster analysis procedure. The clusters are compared with existing coalitions in order to assess their degree of internal homogeneity as well as their common interests. Such a comparison allows the identification of possible 'defectors', i.e. countries that, according to their economic conditions and policies, seem to be relatively less committed to the positions of the coalition they join. In addition, the ex-post analysis of the counterfactual coalitions sheds light on the 'distance' between different coalitions as well as between individual countries and the best alternative group available. Empirical results confirm our research hypothesis: clusters of structurally homogeneous countries well represent existing bargaining coalitions. In particular, the G-20 shows a high degree of internal coherence, which, in our framework, may provide a clue to the 'sustainability' of this coalition and to its relevance in the Doha Round negotiations.

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