3 Jul 2014    Reports/ Presentations

Human Rights and International Trade: Why do Countries Include Social Law Provisions in Preferential Trade Agreements

Presentation by Lisa Lechner (University of Salzburg)


Even though human rights clauses are increasingly included in preferential trade agreements (PTAs), not all PTAs contain social law. What accounts for this variation?We still know relatively little about what explains the inclusion of human rights in trade agreements. Seeking to  ll this gap, this paper proposes a theoretical argument that stresses the selection process. The argument is that public concerns rise with the degree of trade liberalization and hence, pressure on negotiating governments rises.The inclusion of human rights provisions in PTAs is the politician's response to these public concerns. Consequently, the selection of human rights is dependent on other design features of the agreement. In particular, it is expected that deep agreements are more likely to include social law. A cross-sectional dataset on the design of PTAs signed between 1990 and 2009 allows testing the arguments. Gravity regression analysis supports the theoretical argument.

Link to publication