Kent Jones authors new book answering the question, “Why isn’t there more trade?”

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Babson College Economics Professor Dr. Kent Jones has authored Reconstructing the World Trade Organization for the 21st Century − An Institutional Approach

In his book, Jones examines the difficulties of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in completing multilateral trade negotiations and possible ways to restore its ability to do so. According to Jones, the problem lies in the institutional structure it inherited from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT – 1947) which was designed for a more limited scope of trade negotiations among a relatively small number of wealthier, industrialized countries. Jones presents a new institutional model of the GATT/WTO system, which clearly outlines why such an organization exists and how it is supposed to accomplish its goals.


Jones maintains that Institutional reforms will be necessary to restore the WTO's ability to complete global trade agreements including:


  • A more flexible application of the consensus rule
  • A common understanding among all members about the limits of domestic policy space that is subject to negotiation, and
  • Clearer rules on reciprocity obligations


The popularity of bilateral and regional trade agreements, which have emerged as the alternative to WTO agreements, presents a threat to the WTO's relevance in trade negotiations, but also an opportunity to "multilateralize" new and deeper trade integration in future WTO agreements. Aid for trade may also play an instrumental role in bringing more developing countries into WTO disciplines. Above all, Jones contends that WTO members must develop new ways to find common ground in order to negotiate for mutual gains from trade.


Professor Jones’ new book is available for purchase through Oxford University Press.

About Kent Jones

Dr. Kent Jones​ is a Professor of Economics at Babson College, where he has taught since 1982. He has also served as visiting professor at Brandeis University, Tufts University (Fletcher School), and the University of Innsbruck. He has held positions at the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of State. Dr. Jones is the author of several books and articles on international trade policy, including The Doha Blues: Institutional Crisis and Reform in the WTO (Oxford University Press, 2010). His research focuses on globalization, trade policy and international institutions.

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds​​​​​​​​​​​​​​®. The College is a dynamic living and learning laboratory, where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society—while at the same time evolving our methods and advancing our programs. We shape the leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to create economic and social value. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value. ​​​​​​​​


By Barbara Spies Blair,, 781-239-4621 | 04/30/2015 04:00