Research on trade policymaking often fails to recognize important disagreements between economists, on the one hand, and economic and political elites, on the other. As a consequence, many studies overstate the prevalence of economists’ neoclassical trade theory among businesspeople and politicians, and its intellectual influence on the practice of trade negotiations and policymaking. While economists, politicians, and businesspeople often do support the same (neoliberal) agreements and policies, the worldviews motivating and embodied in their endorsements are consistently different. Economists’ formalized neoclassical theory fully endorses international market liberalism, primarily on the basis of expected benefits for consumers, and substantially de-emphasizes conflicts of interest across nations. Businesspeople’s and politicians’ more informal and practical support for ‘free trade’ agreements primarily values them for their benefits to producers, and frequently evokes visions of win–lose competition among nations. Empirically, I defend these arguments using qualitative data from a comparative-historical study of the formation of the 1989 Canada–US Free Trade Agreement and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.
|Translated title of the contribution||Trade Policymaking in the Real World: Elites’ Conflicting Worldviews and North American Integration|
|Pages (from-to)||319 - 347|
|Number of pages||29|
|Journal||Review of International Political Economy|
|Publication status||Published - May 2010|
Bibliographical notePublisher: Routledge
Other identifier: 14664526