DP1214 | Multilateral Trade Rules and the Expected Cost of Protection

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Protection unconstrained by rules typically varies considerably over time. The policy disciplines introduced in the Uruguay Round in `new' areas such as agricultural, services, and developing country industrial protection will constrain, but not eliminate, this variability. The effects of these constraints on the expected costs of protection are examined, taking into account their impacts on both the first and second moments of the distribution of protection. As an application, we examine Uruguay Round agricultural bindings, finding substantial reductions in the expected cost of protection even in some cases where the bindings are above previous protection levels.