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The New Federalism in Mexico and Foreign Economic Policy: An Alternative Two-Level Game Analysis of the Metalclad Case

  • Arturo Borja Tamayo

Abstract

This article examines, through a two-level game model, the case of the first investment dispute under NAFTA between a private U.S. firm and the Mexican government. It argues that the clue to understanding why the Mexican president could not cooperate with the U.S. president lies in Mexico's domestic “ratification” process. The analysis yields two theoretical propositions. First, federalism represents an important variable in explaining foreign economic policy. Second, two-level game logic should not be applied only to formal international negotiation situations; instead, by specifying the dependent variable as cooperation or noncooperation, these models connecting domestic and international politics can be productively applied to study foreign economic policy.

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