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Votes, Vetoes, and the Political Economy of International Trade Agreements$
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Edward D. Mansfield and Helen V. Milner

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691135298

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691135298.001.0001

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date: 13 December 2017

A Political Economy Theory of International Trade Agreements

A Political Economy Theory of International Trade Agreements

Chapter:
(p.23) Chapter 2 A Political Economy Theory of International Trade Agreements
Source:
Votes, Vetoes, and the Political Economy of International Trade Agreements
Author(s):

Edward D. Mansfield

Helen V. Milner

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691135298.003.0002

This chapter presents a theory of the domestic political conditions that lead countries to enter into formal trade agreements. More specifically, it attempts to explain the establishment of preferential trading arrangements (PTAs), institutions in which member-states reciprocally lower their trade barriers on each other's products and thereby grant each member preferential market access. The focus is on why and when countries have chosen to enter such agreements, understanding that there is substantial variability in the spread of PTAs over time and the countries that join them. Why have some countries joined many PTAs, while others have joined very few, and what explains the timing of PTA formation? The chapter first presents a rationalist theory of domestic politics to explain the pattern of PTAs. It then develops seven auxiliary hypotheses that follow from the logic of the present model to further explore the model's implications.

Keywords:   preferential trading arrangements, international trade agreements, domestic political conditions, trade barriers, preferential market access

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