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Why Democracies Cooperate More: Electoral Control and International Trade Agreements

In: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE

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  • Edward D. Mansfield
  • Helen V. Milner
  • B. Peter Rosendorff

Abstract

Over the past fifty years, barriers to international trade have decreased substantially. While the decline in protectionism since World War II has stemmed partly from unilateral changes in trade policy by countries, it has also been a result of agreements among countries to liberalize commerce. In this article, we analyze the conditions under which states have concluded such agreements and, more generally, explore the domestic factors affecting interstate economic cooperation. We argue that the likelihood of states cooperating on trade policy depends crucially on their regime type: as states become more democratic, they are increasingly likely to conclude trade agreements.Our analysis has implications for two broad areas in the field of international relations. First, a large and influential body of research has emerged on the effects of regime type on the outbreak and resolution of interstate conflict, the durability of political-military alliances, the propensity of states to join intergovernmental organizations (IGOs ), and various other aspects of foreign policy. Very little of this literature, however, focuses directly on the links between regime type and foreign economic policy. We conduct one of the initial analyses bearing on this important topic.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward D. Mansfield & Helen V. Milner & B. Peter Rosendorff, 2015. "Why Democracies Cooperate More: Electoral Control and International Trade Agreements," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE, chapter 11, pages 227-263 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  • Handle: RePEc:wsi:wschap:9789814644297_0011
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    Keywords

    Political Economy; International Trade; Globalization;

    JEL classification:

    • F50 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - General
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy

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