Research is a main strand of the WTI's work. See below for a list of research projects the institute is involved in.
SECO / WTI Academic Cooperation Project
The SECO/WTI Academic Cooperation Project is a comprehensive six year academic capacity building project aimed at academic training in trade regulation and building regional research capacities. It was initiated and is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the World Trade Institute (WTI) is its implementing agency.
NCCR International Trade Regulation
From Fragmentation to Coherence
NCCR Trade Regulation aims to clarify how the world trading system functions and to explore the drivers of fragmentation and coherence. It aims to offer policy recommendations based on the disciplines of law, economics and political science through its six thematic research areas: trade governance; new preferentialism in trade; innovation and creativity in international trade; trade, development and migration; trade and climate change; and impact assessment in international trade regulation.
r4d Employment Project
Employment Effects of Different Development Policy Instruments
As its name suggests, the project aims to reveal the impact of various development policy instruments on the quality and quantity of employment in six developing countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, South Africa and Vietnam. Analytically, the policy instruments studied are related to three key mechanisms that usually facilitate development: integration in international markets, technological upgrading, labour market restructuring.
r4d Towards Food Sustainability
Towards food sustainability: Reshaping the coexistence of different food systems in South America and Africa (R4D SNF)
Global food prices have remained historically high since the 2007–8 financial crisis, against a background of climate change and a growing demand for food and biofuels. One billion people suffer from hunger and 2.5 billion lack the essential micronutrients needed for a healthy and active life. Simply increasing agricultural productivity will not resolve the food crisis: feeding 9 billion people by 2050 requires a reorientation of global food policies.
The aim of the project is to provide evidence-based scientific knowledge as a basis for the formulation and promotion of innovative strategies and policy options that will improve the sustainability of food systems. Food policies must go beyond maximising global food productivity to optimise the complex interactions between food production, environmental impacts, and social justice outcomes.
There is growing consensus that food security must be understood as an outcome of multiple factors operating at local to global scales. This project addresses a major research gap by looking not only at the performance of individual food systems, but also identifying conditions and factors that make the coexistence of food systems more sustainable.
The project operates in Kenya and Bolivia. It is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and runs for six years from January 2015.
The R4D Food Sustainability project has been recognised as a partner of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Project leader: Stephan Rist
Leader of Work Package 1: Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi (CDE/WTI); Christophe Golay (Geneva Academy)
WTI team: Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi; Christiane Erkoreka-Fürst (2015-16); Stephen Gelb (2015)
Research at the WTI
Various research institutions in Switzerland and abroad are involved in this project. Part of the research is being carried out at the WTI. A postdoctoral researcher and a PhD student based at the WTI are members of Work Package 1 of the project. They are conducting a coherence analysis of the economic legal regimes that shape food systems in Kenya and Bolivia from a perspective of the right to food and the concept of food sustainability. This assessment takes into consideration economic regimes at the international, regional and national levels (multi-layered governance perspective).
A collaborative research project on regulatory barriers to trade, supported by the European Commission.
PRONTO aims to build a network across the research and stakeholder communities working on a better understanding of non-tariff measures affecting international trade and investment. The project is managed by the WTI.
DESTA is a collaborative research project. It aims to collect systematic data on the design of preferential trade agreements that have been signed since 1945.
Andreas Dür (University of Salzburg)
Leonardo Baccini (LSE)
Karolina Milewicz (Oxford University)
Towards a Principle of Common Concern in Global Law: Foundations and Case Studies
The project explores the legal potential of the emerging doctrine of Common Concern of Humankind (‘Common Concern’) in responding to collective action problems due to the lack of appropriate institutions on the global and the European levels.
It consists of a theoretical part and a series of in-depth case studies exploring the potential of the principle in different areas of public international law. The four case studies envisaged will analyse existing governance arrangements in the fields of: climate change; biodiversity, with a particular focus on the law of the sea; monetary affairs, and corporate responsibility and human rights.
Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) the project runs for three years from October 2015.
Diffusion of International Law: A Textual Analysis of International Investment Agreements
This collaborative project begun in 2015 examines the question, 'What are the design, evolution and effects of the international investment agreements currently in practice?'
Led by the WTI, it involves universities in Switzerland and abroad as well as the World Bank Group.
Climate Security with Local Authorities (CLISEL)
CLISEL is a Coordination and support action funded under the Horizon 2020 Programme, which is exploring the climate-security nexus from the perspective of local administrations and communities.
CLISEL proposes an innovative approach to the question of how Europe can be secured from the impacts of climate change in third countries. The aim is to understand the extent to which migrants are perceived as a security issue, as well as the policies and actions through which local administrators can ward off the emergence of a security crisis within their territory, with a special focus on the Italian region of Sardinia, taken as a pilot case-study.
The 36-month project, which started in May 2016, involves five institutions from around Europe, including the World Trade Institute (WTI). Being a Coordination and support action, CLISEL is mainly involved in accompanying measures like dissemination, networking, coordination or support activities, policy dialogues and mutual learning exercises and studies in different countries.
Other projects in which the WTI is involved:
The European Trade Study Group (ETSG)
The European Trade Study Group (ETSG) is a forum for academic discussion and research on international trade among universities and research institutes. Participation in ETSG activities is open to all academic and research economists. The ETSG is jointly organised through Lancaster University, the University of Bern, and the University of Strathclyde.