Linking Issues : Should one bargain over two issues simultaineously or separately?

Working Paper, NUPI

International negotiations on trade (e.g. GATT and TRIPS) have typically been of the packageform, and different issues have therefore been linked to each other. Trade issues have not been linked to e.g. environmental agreements in negotiations, however. This paper studies the outcome of linked bargaining, where two issues are simultaneously negotiated over by two countries. We notice that there always exist gains from linkages in bargaining, and that such linking will always occur in equilibrium if there is a pre-stage where the countries are bargaining over the agenda. The outcome under linked bargaining is compared with the outcome under separate negotiations, and the circumstances where a country will gain or lose from linking are characterized. The results help us to understand different countries’ preferences for linkages in bargaining.