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Domestic Influences on International Trade Policy: Factor Mobility in the United States, 1963 to 1992

  • Jeffrey W. Ladewig (a1)

Abstract

The constituent influences on congressional voting patterns for trade policy have long been an important field of study. A central theoretical component (explicitly or implicitly) of all these studies is the level of factor mobility that defines which constituent coalitions will form and how they will be affected. Yet the recent literature offers contradictory evidence on the current level of factor mobility. Using an original data set of economic demographics of House districts and the roll call votes of U.S. House members on trade policies from 1963 to 1992, I argue that factor mobility was relatively low in the 1960s and 1970s but was rising. The relative level of factor mobility, then, reached a pivot point in the late 1970s and was subsequently relatively high in the 1980s and 1990s. I check the robustness of these results on the expected strength of the political parties in supplying these policies and the effects of divided government.I would like to thank Oksan Bayulgen, Sam Best, Mark Boyer, Stephen Bronars, Walter Dean Burnham, Virginia Hettinger, Alan Kessler, Peter Kingstone, Tse-Min Lin, Robert Moser, Phil Paolino, Dennis Plane, Howard Reiter, Brian Roberts, Ken Scheve, Lyle Scruggs, Mathieu Turgeon, the editor of IO, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Any errors that remain are, of course, my own.

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