Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by David Deese
Chapter 5: The new politics of the new trade: the political economy of intra-industry trade
International trade creates winners and losers. Though beneficial for society as a whole, trade makes some individuals within a society better off and it makes some individuals worse off. The categories of winners and losers shift along with one’s analytical lens: men versus women, high-skilled workers versus low-skilled workers, employers versus employees, traded sectors versus non-traded sectors, capital-intensive industries versus labor-intensive industries, to slice it up just a handful of ways. As the advanced industrial democracies have grown ever more integrated into the global economy, societal groups have waged continual political battles over the direction of trade policy. The salience of these political battles varies dramatically, as do the players. Despite continued commitment to the liberal international trade regime, trade openness remains contentious in the advanced industrialized democracies. Analysts of trade policy have argued that, in the postwar era, lobbying has increased, protectionist lobbying specifically has increased and trade policy demands have become more heterogeneous. Before we can understand trade policy outcomes, we must understand why, when and how societal actors organize and mobilize themselves politically for the purpose of pressuring policymakers to adopt liberal or protectionist trade policies. In the United States, trade policy coalitions in the nineteenth century were well organized, highly active and broadly class-based or sector-based (Hiscox 2002). Over time, the nature of trade policy coalitions has changed dramatically.
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