Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Dispute Resolution and Arbitration | International Trade Law | Law


Center on Global Governance


The WTO dispute settlement system is in crisis, endangering the future of the organization. The proximate reason for alarm is the dwindling number of Appellate Body (AB) members, the result of the United States blocking new appointments as the terms of sitting members expire. The AB crisis usually is presented as the U.S. against the world. In this paper, we report on the results of a survey of WTO Members’ perceptions of the AB and the role it plays (should play) and contrast this with Members’ revealed preferences in their use of the dispute settlement system and their intervention in WTO debates about the crisis. The data reveal strong support for the basic de-sign of the dispute settlement system but also that the United States is not alone in perceiving that the AB has gone beyond its mandate.