Probit 9 in international trade: another case of institutional path dependence - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies Year : 2022

Probit 9 in international trade: another case of institutional path dependence


AbstractA large proportion of the literature on the international trade of agricultural products has focused on evaluating the impact of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) restrictions on trade, in particular when these restrictions are issued by states. At the same time, very few studies have analysed the impact of SPS measures promoted by specialist international organisations. One explanation for this different handling would be that, as the result of the scientific work of independent expert committees, international measures are seen as rational, neutral and thus not particularly distortionary. We refer to this as science-based international discipline. In this work, we assume that, while founded on scientific bases, the SPS standards recommended by the international organisations may be relevantly inefficient in regulating trade due to the existence of path dependence phenomena. Drawing on North’s neo-institutional approach, we study a scientific evaluation standard relating to the efficacy of phytosanitary treatments, known as ‘Probit 9’, which is systematically used by the international bodies responsible for regulating trade. The aim is to demonstrate that, while facilitating the emergence of highly robust SPS risk management systems, such a standard has prevented the emergence of other equally effective and potentially less costly risk management methods, leaving us to ponder this situation of ‘lock-in’ so typical of path dependence. We illustrate this issue with the case of ‘certified wooden pallets’ and the associated international certification standard, ISPM 15.
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Dates and versions

hal-03681121 , version 1 (29-05-2023)



Pasquale Lubello. Probit 9 in international trade: another case of institutional path dependence. Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies, 2022, 103 (2), pp.97-116. ⟨10.1007/s41130-022-00169-z⟩. ⟨hal-03681121⟩
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