The Political Economy of Trading States: Factor Specificity, Collective Action Problems, and Domestic Political Institutions . James E. Alt and Michael Gilligan Presented by Sarah Boyce and Rick Boccadoro.
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The Political Economy of Trading States: Factor Specificity, Collective Action Problems, and Domestic Political Institutions
James E. Alt and Michael Gilligan
Presented by Sarah Boyce and Rick Boccadoro
Alt and Gilligan seek to outline the requirements to understand the ‘domestic consequences of a society’s ‘choosing to trade’” (Frieden and Lake, 328).
They feel that too many scholars fail to emphasize the domestic political dimension of trade policy.
Alt and Gilligan also address smaller empirical puzzles within the article in order to gather evidence for their argument.
Pareto and Schattschneider – address how policies which benefit a small minority of the population are enacted.
- Collective Action
- Political Institutions
- Abundance and Mobility
- Trade barriers
- Interest groups
- Other factors (such as ease of communication, geographical concentration and preexisting collective organizations.)
Alt and Gilligan expect to find that the domestic consequences of trade may vary depending on the theorem used. They do not use a research design that includes a static example. Rather, they detail each theorem and point out how collective action fits into each one. Their dependant variable (i.e. collective action) is measured in terms of theoretical group size and the impact of the individual within the group.
Are factors besides abundance and mobility important to the formation of trade policy?Yes, their findings indicate that other factors, such as collective action, play an important role in the formational of trade policy.
Alt and Gilligan’s article raises some important issues. For instance, although many recent studies focus primarily on economic factors when analyzing the formation of trade policy, it is clear that domestic political factors are just as important, and that policies are formed through the interplay of both.