Trade Policy, Economic Interests and Party Politics in a Developing Country: The Political Economy of CAFTA

International Studies Quarterly, Forthcoming

38 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2012

See all articles by Raymond Hicks

Raymond Hicks

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Helen V. Milner

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

Dustin H. Tingley

Harvard University - Department of Government

Date Written: November 26, 2012

Abstract

Developing countries have increasingly opened their economies to trade. Research about trade policy in developed countries focuses on a bottom-up process by identifying economic preferences of domestic groups. We know less about developing countries. We analyze how economic and political variables influenced Costa Rican voters in a referendum on CAFTA, an international trade agreement. We find little support for Stolper-Samuelson models of economic preferences, but more support for specific factor models. We also isolate the effects of political parties on the referendum, controlling for many economic factors; we document how at least one party influenced voters and this made the difference for CAFTA passage. Politics, namely parties using their organizational strength to cue and frame messages for voters, influenced this important trade policy decision. Theories about trade policy need to take into account top-down political factors along with economic interests.

Keywords: CAFTA, Costa Rica, trade policy, political economy, trade liberalization, regionalism, referendum, public opinion

Suggested Citation

Hicks, Raymond and Milner, Helen V. and Tingley, Dustin H., Trade Policy, Economic Interests and Party Politics in a Developing Country: The Political Economy of CAFTA (November 26, 2012). International Studies Quarterly, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2182076

Raymond Hicks

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

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Helen V. Milner (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson 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 H. Tingley

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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