20 Feb 2020
Seeking Domestic Approval: Determinants of Ratification Duration in International Trade
Article by Simon Wüthrich in Swiss Political Science Review (SPSR), February 2020.
Preferential trade agreements (PTAs) have proliferated rapidly since the early 1990s. The ratification of these agreements matters both economically by rendering commitments legally enforceable for outward‐oriented industries and politically by revealing the domestic‐ and international‐level factors which delay or accelerate the entry into force of a PTA. This research note investigates the institutional design and domestic political determinants of the ratification duration for 270 PTAs concluded in the post‐1990 period. The Weibull survival analysis yields two main results: First, neither domestic political constraints measured through veto players nor PTA depth affect ratification spells. Second, ratification processes become more protracted in the presence of stringent formal domestic ratification requirements as well as with a higher number of partner states. These findings suggest that trade negotiators factor in the shadow of ratification in the bargaining phase but still remain subject to formal ratification hurdles and PTA membership dynamics.