Who Supports Global Economic Engagement? The Sources of Preferences in American Foreign Economic Policy

47 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2010

See all articles by Helen V. Milner

Helen V. Milner

Princeton University - Princeton School of Public and International Affairs; Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Dustin Tingley

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: February 12, 2010

Abstract

We bring together opposing international relations theories to better understand American foreign policy, in particular foreign trade and aid. Using votes in the US House of Representatives from 1979-2004, we explore different theoretical predictions about preferences for foreign economic policy. We assess the impact of domestic factors, namely political economy and ideological preferences, versus foreign policy pressures. Our three main results highlight the differential impact of these factors in the two issue areas. First, aid preferences are as affected by domestic political economy factors as are trade preferences. Second, trade preferences, but not economic aid ones, are shaped by the president’s foreign policy concerns; for economic aid, domestic political economy factors matter more than foreign policy ones. Third, aid preferences are shaped more by ideological factors than are trade ones, but ideology plays a different substantive role in each. Different constituencies support aid and trade. This finding has implications for foreign policy substitutability, “the internationalist coalition” in US foreign policy, “statist” theories of foreign policy, and the connection between public opinion and legislative voting.

Keywords: foreign aid, trade, congress, policy substitution, domestic politics, President

Suggested Citation

Milner, Helen V. and Tingley, Dustin, Who Supports Global Economic Engagement? The Sources of Preferences in American Foreign Economic Policy (February 12, 2010). International Organization, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1552102

Helen V. Milner

Princeton University - Princeton School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
United States
609-258-0181 (Phone)

Dustin Tingley (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States

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