Three Papers on Trade Politics
Sima-Eichler, Peter John
How did the U.S. government liberalize trade despite public opposition? Over the last three decades, the United States forged free trade agreements with countries on five continents, pursuing a strategy of bilateral liberalization while working within GATT/WTO to further reduce trade barriers. But throughout the same period, a majority of Americans opposed efforts to increase trade openness. My dissertation examines this question through three research projects. The first paper reviews the central finding of the trade opinion literature, that individual interests and attitudes shape personal preferences about trade, and finds that only a small subset of voters, the highly politically aware, have settled opinions about trade because they adopt the views of political elites. The second paper demonstrates that, rather than claiming credit for liberal trade policies as prior research would predict, pro-trade politicians either avoid the issue entirely on the campaign trail or actively feign support for protectionism. However, because trade is rarely locally salient, politicians do not suffer electorally for their pro-trade votes, even when those positions conflict with the economic interests of their districts. The third paper finds that exporters from developing states that are strategically important to the United States – democracies, allies, major aid recipients, and countries that are wedded to the U.S.-led liberal order – are more likely to use the Generalized System of Preferences. This is because of conditionality: the U.S. can remove beneficiary countries for a range of reasons, and exporters from states that are not tied to the U.S. fear being suspended from the program.
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Pervez, Fouad (Georgetown University, 2017)There is a wide degree of variation in how countries behave with respect to international dispute settlement. This includes the time they wait before initiating a dispute, as well as their actions with the dispute settlement ...