Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by David Deese
Chapter 1: Introduction: politics, trade, and the international political economy
Trade is the area of international political economy (IPE) that is monitored the most directly by key actors, both public and private, from individuals to the global trade regime. It carries with it profound questions and issues about property rights and the role of the state, foreign direct investment and investment agreements, integration and regionalism, development strategy and inequality, international collaboration and governance, and transnational networks and coalitions. For research in international politics and IPE, trade is the preeminent domain for studying the interconnections of domestic and international politics. From understanding the evolution of labor and children’s rights, to the horizontal and vertical shifts in authority levels under globalization, or the legalization of dispute settlement in both public and quasi-public domains and the establishment of a coherent body of international trade law, trade leads the way for other domains of IPE. Furthermore, trade is profoundly interconnected with the other main areas of IPE, from international production to investment, state-owned enterprises, energy markets, technologies and sustainability, money and exchange rates, and the Internet. In other words, trade is fundamentally political, as well as regional and inter-continental. The Edward Elgar Handbook of the International Political Economy of Trade brings together the most important and promising research and policy questions regarding international trade. The authors are leading thinkers and writers from different countries representing a range of disciplines from political science and political economy to law and economics.