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How does elite communication affect citizens’ attitudes towards trade agreements? Building on a growing literature on context factors influencing public opinion about trade and trade agreements; we argue that citizens rely on cues provided by political elites, especially political parties, when forming their views towards these agreements. Such cueing effects are most likely for citizens with little information about a trade agreement and for citizens receiving cues from trusted elites. In addition, citizens exposed to cues from non-trusted elites should exhibit a source-opposing effect. Our key contribution is to test these expectations relying on a survey experiment on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) carried out in Germany and Spain. The findings from our experiment support the existence of elite cueing effects, although to a limited degree. Overall, the paper contributes to a better understanding of public opinion towards TTIP, trade policy attitudes, and public opinion more generally.
The globalization of production is changing the political economy of trade policymaking: Traditional supporters of free trade (exporters seeking market access in foreign countries) are joined by new actors (companies needing intermediates from abroad for their production processes) in their lobbying efforts for trade liberalization. Multinational corporations (MNCs) play a crucial role in this new alliance due to their strong involvement in international trade and endowment with resources that can be used to lobby policymakers. We derive an argument from these premises that leads to the expectation of variation in trade policy outcomes across industries depending on their degree of integration in a global network of multinational corporations. Disaggregated data on the level of tariffs and speed of tariff cuts in preferential trade agreements, international mergers and acquisitions at the firm level, and MNC imports of intermediates by sector allow us to test the argument. The findings support our theoretical expectations. The paper sheds light on the processes and outcomes of trade policymaking in a globalized economy by further developing an existing argument about GVCs and trade policy outcomes as well as expanding on it by adding data on international corporate connections.
Preferential trade agreements (PTAs) have been proliferating for more than two decades, with the negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and a Trans-Pacific Partnership being just the tip of the iceberg. This volume addresses some of the most pressing issues related to the surge of these agreements. It includes chapters written by leading political scientists, economists and lawyers which theoretically and empirically advance our understanding of trade agreements. The key theme is that PTAs vary widely in terms of design. The authors provide explanations as to why we see these differences in design and whether and how these differences matter in practice. The tools for understanding the purposes and effects of PTAs that are offered will guide future research and inform practitioners and trade policy experts about progress in the scientific enquiry into PTAs.
What explains a party's dual decision about whether to endorse a referendum on an international treaty and whether to support that treaty in a referendum campaign? Relying on an original game of second-order electoral competition, this article argues that the relative likelihood of a party endorsing a referendum is highest at the beginning and end of the electoral cycle, and when the public supports the treaty. The study uses data on the position of 175 parties in 24 member states vis-à-vis the EU's Constitutional Treaty and its preferred mechanism of ratification to test these expectations against empirical evidence. Using a multinomial logistic regression model, it finds robust support for the argument.
Since 1990, the number of preferential trade agreements has increased rapidly. The argument in this article explains this phenomenon, known as the new regionalism, as a result of competition for market access; exporters facing trade diversion because of their exclusion from a preferential trade agreement concluded by foreign countries push their governments into signing an agreement with the country in which their exports are threatened. The argument is tested in a quantitative analysis of the proliferation of preferential trade agreements among 167 countries between 1990 and 2007. The finding that competition for market access is a major driving force of the new regionalism is a contribution to the literature on regionalism and to broader debates about global economic regulation.