Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2020
Chapter 5 focuses on the domain of international trade. In this chapter, we claim that states often withhold economic information that is essential for adjudicating trade disputes because they fear harmful reactions by market actors. We demonstrate that properly designed international organizations can ameliorate this problem by receiving and protecting such information. After formalizing our theory, we assess our hypotheses using new data on information sharing with the World Trade Organization. We show that key reforms designed to safeguard sensitive information increased the provision of this information and boosted trade cooperation in relevant industries. We conclude by discussing how solving this pervasive issue puts international trade institutions in tension with the normative goals of transparency and accountability.