ARTICLE OF GENERAL INTEREST: The Good Case: Decisions to Litigate at the World Trade Organization Skip over navigation
LexisNexis® Browse Law Reviews and Treatises
Skip over navigation
Sign in with your® ID to access the full text of this article.
Order the full text of this article if you do not have a® ID.
US $22.00 (+ tax)

Copyright (c) 2008 Law and Society Association 
Law and Society Review

ARTICLE OF GENERAL INTEREST: The Good Case: Decisions to Litigate at the World Trade Organization

March, 2008

42 Law & Soc'y Rev. 145


Joseph A. Conti


This article examines the decision to initiate litigation in the dispute settlement mechanism of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Prior empirical research has focused on determinants of participation in WTO disputing but without full consideration of the social processes by which the decision to litigate is made. To the extent that these processes have been subject to study, scholars have presumed that initiation of a formal WTO dispute results from a cost-benefit analysis, and they have conceived of dispute initiation as a way to force "renegotiation" of a trade relationship, eliminate inefficiency caused by protectionist trade policies, and yield outcomes congruent with the quest to maximize national income (Bagwell & Staiger 1999; Bown 2004, 2005; Busch & Reinhardt 2003:722-3; Dunoff & Trachtman 1999). This approach strongly presumes the stability of preferences over time and across contexts, and that the decision to litigate originates primarily out of structural relationships, such as the volume of trade and diversity of trade partners (Horn et al. 1999), type of political regime (Busch & Reinhardt 2002, 2003; Davis & Bermeo 2005), gross domestic product (Busch & Reinhardt 2003), or litigation capacity (Bown 2005; Bown & Hoekman 2005; Davis & Bermeo 2005; Hoekman & Mavroidis 2000; Michalopoulos 1998). While recent efforts have sought to incorporate political dynamics into the study of WTO litigation, the empirical literature on WTO dispute settlement is fundamentally dominated by the presumption of market-based rationales.

In contrast, this article adopts a sociolegal approach to understanding the practice of international law-in-action ...
If you are interested in obtaining a® ID and Password, please contact us at 1-(800)-227-4908 or visit us at
Search Documents
eg., Environmental Insurance Coverage Under the Comprehensive General Liability Policy

Lexis® Web - The only search engine that delivers free web content specifically from legal sites validated by LexisNexis® attorney editors and includes tools for faster research and more relevant results.

LexisNexis Store
Research Now - Go to
Connect the Dots - Free 1 hour webcast
Share. Network. Discover. - Go to LexisNexis Communities