The flow of capital across borders is one of the core subjects of International Political Economy research, but there has been little research into the determinants of support for and opposition to inward foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. This is an important oversight because cross border investments are a growing area of international economic activity, and increasingly the subject of important international negotiations. In order to study this topic, we embedded a conjoint experiment in a survey that we fielded in the United States and China. Our experiment asked respondents to evaluate hypothetical acquisitions of domestic companies by foreign firms, and produced several important results. First, Chinese respondents were less opposed to foreign acquisitions of domestic firms than American respondents. Second, reciprocity matters; respondents were consistently more likely to oppose foreign acquisitions when the foreign firm’s home country does not provide reciprocal market access.Third, in both countries, economic factors had a smaller influence on the levels of opposition to foreign acquisitions than non-economic factors.
Does foreign aid enable or constrain elite capture of public revenues? Reflecting on prominent debates in the foreign aid literature, we examine whether recipient preferences are consistent with a view that foreign donors wield substantial control over the flow of aid dollars, making elite capture more difficult and mass benefits more likely. We compare elite and mass support for foreign aid versus government spending on development projects through a survey experiment with behavioral outcomes. A key innovation is a parallel experiment on members of the Ugandan national parliament and a representative sample of Ugandan citizens. For two actual aid projects, we randomly assigned different funders to the projects. Significant treatment effects reveal that members of parliament support government programs over foreign aid, whereas citizens prefer aid over government. Donor control also implies that citizens should favor foreign aid more and elites less as their perceptions of government clientelism and corruption in-crease. We explore this and report on other alternative mechanisms. Effects for citizens and elites are most apparent for those perceiving significant government corruption, suggesting that both sets of subjects perceive significant donor control over aid.
An ongoing debate among prominent scholars of international relations concerns the future direction of American foreign policy. In particular, scholars, pundits, and commentators wonder whether the United States will continue to pursue a liberal internationalist stance. At its core, liberal internationalism entails international engagement, not isolationism. And despite the ‘liberal’ terminology, it is not a policy skewed towards Democrats and political liberals and away from Republicans and political conservatives. Instead the liberal component of internationalism embodies many bi-partisan principles: support for freedom, democracy, human rights, a free press, as well as an open world economy for the movement of goods, services, people, and ideas. Not surprisingly, an amazing amount of ink has been spilled on what the election of Donald Trump as President means for the trajectory of U.S. foreign policy and a possible break from liberal internationalism.
A recent RIPE article by Jerry Cohen argues that current research on the political economy of money has stagnated because of its overemphasis on the scientific method and domestic variables. We argue that a wide array of scientifically oriented research on the IPE of money considers the system in many different ways. To help build a dialogue, we categorize each of these conceptions of ‘the system’ and give examples of their application from recent research on the IPE of money. Our hope is that this typology will help scholars of different approaches recognize the similarities and differences in their research, beyond simply whether the research is scientific or heterodox.
What factors determine firms’ attitudes toward trade policy? This paper considers producers’ policy preferences and political behavior in light of two key patterns in modern international trade: industries that face import competition often have many exporters, and foreign sales are concentrated in the hands of a small number of “superstar” exporters. Using a new survey of Costa Rican firms matched to systematic firm-level data on export behavior, we find that firm features are generally more important predictors of attitudes toward trade liberalization than industry-wide comparative advantage. We also show that export intensity is strongly associated with interest and lobbying activity on trade policy. The largest exporters, who are the strongest supporters of global integration, dominate trade politics.
Different theories about the impact of aid make distinct predictions about citizens’ attitudes toward foreign aid in recipient countries. We investigate their preferences toward aid and government projects in order to examine these different theories. Are citizens indifferent between development projects funded by their own government versus those funded by foreign aid donors, as aid capture theory suggests? To address this, in an experiment on a large, representative sample of Ugandan citizens, we randomly assigned the names of funding groups for actual forthcoming development projects and invited citizens to express support attitudinally and behaviorally. We find that citizens are significantly more willing to show behavioral support in favor of foreign aid projects compared to government programs, especially if they already perceive the government as corrupt or clientelist or if they are not supporters of the ruling party. They also trust donors more, think they are more effective, and do not consistently oppose aid conditionality. This experimental evidence is consistent with a theory that we call donor control which sees donors asbeing able to target and condition aid so that it is not fungible with government revenues and thus to be able to better direct it to meet citizens’ needs.
Joseph Weinberg’s piece highlights an important substantive and methodological question: how to analyze, theoretically and methodologically, differences in national policy autonomy among countries and across policy areas in the era of globalization or regional integration. EU membership constrains the policy autonomy of member states, which can change the relationship between the explanatory variables of interest and the outcome variable. As Weinberg argues, “While a particular set of independent variables may explain outcomes in sovereign countries, those same variables would have little explanatory power where decisions are made by a supranational body” (5). We agree wholeheartedly that, if membership in a supranational institution constrains certain policy outcomes, then researchers should account for that in their theoretical and empirical models. We disagree, however, on the solution. In particular, we show how multi-level models have important advantages in modelling this phenomenon, compared to the split-sample regressions in his piece.
The proliferation of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) is the most prominent and prevalent driver of regional trade governance in the contemporary international economy. PTAs grant member states preferential access to each other’s markets, and they also shape the contours of economic regionalism across different geographic neighborhoods. The chapter analyzes the central issues animating scholarship on regional trade governance, with a focus on the role of PTAs and the future research trajectories relevant to the evolution of regional institution-building. It examines the domestic and international political factors that influence the establishment, design, and the political as well as economic effects of PTAs. It also addresses how the budding “mega-PTAs” currently under negotiation may affect the stability and governance of the multilateral trading system. The analysis highlights an important research frontier in the study of PTAs: the emergence of deep integration agreements that seek extensive “behind-the-border” trade liberalization and regulatory coordination.
Does global market integration help or hinder government efforts to improve the livelihoods of the world’s poorest citizens? Standard trade theories suggest that government interventions become less imperative as developing countries liberalize. This is because labor in developing economies is abundant and cheap; export products that utilize this factor of production will employ large populations of low-skilled workers who will experience increases in the purchasing power of their wage income. Consumption increases, and the country as a whole is better off. For several decades now, developing economies have embraced this rationale for free trade and its welfare-enhancing effects on the majority.
A great deal of political economy scholarship has focused on how countries can attract foreign direct investment (FDI), and the effects of FDI on growth and political stability. A related topic that has received almost no attention, however, is that of divergent political reactions to inflows of FDI in the countries receiving investments. This is an oversight, because inward FDI flows are not equally welcomed by the host country and, in fact, often encounter strong political opposition. We study this phenomenon by examining political opposition to attempts by Chinese companies at mergers and acquisitions (M&As) with US firms. This is especially important given rapidly expanding Chinese M&A activity. We hypothesise that although most legal barriers to foreign M&As are based on national security considerations, objections on these grounds are often vehicles through which to channel other grievances, and that economic distress and reciprocity are also key drivers of political opposition. To test this theory, we constructed an original dataset of 569 transactions that occurred between 1999 and 2014 involving Chinese acquirers and American targets. We find that there is more likely to be opposition to Chinese M&A attempts in security sensitive industries, economically distressed industries, and sectors in which US companies faced restrictions in China’s M&A markets.
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.
When engaging with other countries, the U.S. government has a number of different policy instruments at its disposal, including foreign aid, international trade, and the use of military force. But what determines which policies are chosen? Does the United States rely too much on the use of military power and coercion in its foreign policies? Sailing the Water's Edge focuses on how domestic U.S. politics—in particular the interactions between the president, Congress, interest groups, bureaucratic institutions, and the public—have influenced foreign policy choices since World War II and shows why presidents have more control over some policy instruments than others. Presidential power matters and it varies systematically across policy instruments.
Helen Milner and Dustin Tingley consider how Congress and interest groups have substantial material interests in and ideological divisions around certain issues and that these factors constrain presidents from applying specific tools. As a result, presidents select instruments that they have more control over, such as use of the military. This militarization of U.S. foreign policy raises concerns about the nature of American engagement, substitution among policy tools, and the future of U.S. foreign policy. Milner and Tingley explore whether American foreign policy will remain guided by a grand strategy of liberal internationalism, what affects American foreign policy successes and failures, and the role of U.S. intelligence collection in shaping foreign policy. The authors support their arguments with rigorous theorizing, quantitative analysis, and focused case studies, such as U.S. foreign policy in Sub-Saharan Africa across two presidential administrations.
Sailing the Water’s Edge examines the importance of domestic political coalitions and institutions on the formation of American foreign policy.
International trade agreements lead to more foreign direct investment (FDI) in developing countries. This article examines the causal mechanisms underpinning this trade-investment linkage by asking whether institutional features of preferential trade agreements (PTAs), which allow governments to make more credible commitments to protect foreign investments, indeed result in greater FDI. The authors explore three institutional differences. First, they examine whether PTAs that have entered into force lead to greater FDI than PTAs that have merely been negotiated and signed, since only the former constitute a binding commitment under international law. Second, they ask whether trade agreements that have investment clauses lead to greater FDI. Third, they consider whether PTAs with dispute-settlement mechanisms lead to greater FDI. Analyses of FDI flows into 122 developing countries from 1971 to 2007 show that trade agreements that include stronger mechanisms for credible commitment induce more FDI. Institutional diversity in international agreements matters.
Following older debates in international relations literature concerning the relative importance of domestic versus systemic factors, newer debates emphasize interdependence among states and the complex interactions between systemic and domestic factors. As globalization and democratization advance, theories and empirical models of international politics have become more complicated. We present a systematic theoretical categorization of relationships between domestic and systemic variables. We use this categorization so that scholars can match their theory to the appropriate empirical model and assess the degree to which systemic factors affect their arguments. We also present two advances at the frontier of these empirical models. In one, we combine hierarchical models of moderating relationships with spatial models of interdependence among units within a system. In the other, we provide a model for analyzing spatial interdependence that varies over time. This enables us to examine how the level of interdependence among units has evolved. We illustrate our categorization and new models by revisiting the recent international political economy (IPE) debate over the relationship between trade policy and regime type in developing countries.
The world economy has maintained or enhanced its integration in the past decade even in the face of the global financial crisis. A large part of this globalization has been driven by capital flows. This symposium focuses on one element of these capital flows, foreign direct investment (FDI), and on the regime in place to safeguard and promote such investments around the globe. The articles by Allee and Peinhardt and Simmons focus on the nature and evolution of the bilateral investment treaties (BITs) that have been developed to protect such investments and that have proliferated since the 1990s. The final article, by Büthe and Milner, turns its attention to the ways in which international trade agreements affect FDI. The comparison between the investment and trade agreements is instructive, since they seem to have different effects.
FDI has become one of the most important economic flows in the global economy. It is a critical source of capital for developing countries and remains a significant source of investment in the developed world. FDI has grown in part because countries changed their policies toward it dramatically after the 1980s; governments in developing countries made unilateral policy changes that opened up markets across the globe and increased competition among countries for FDI.
Given the recognition of the seriousness of climate change and other forms of environmental challenges, a growing number of political scientists are working in the environmental area. We have a substantial body of research examining local, regional, and global environmental issues. It is our sense that time is ripe for the field of international and comparative environmental politics to reflect on existing work, integrate it, and clearly articulate directions for future research. This special issue seeks to encourage scholars to systemically examine the roles of domestic and international factors, either alone or in interaction, to develop more nuanced models of environmental politics across space and time. We hope that the papers here will help to define the research frontier for the environmental politics field. Collectively, they exemplify recent efforts in comparative and international environmental politics that are, first, explanatory in orientation; second, cross levels of analysis in a way that transcends artificial subdisciplinary distinctions; and finally, are based on application of a variety of research methods and modeling techniques standard among the wider political science community.
Developing countries have increasingly opened their economies to trade. Research about trade policy in developed countries focuses on a bottom-up process by identifying economic preferences of domestic groups. We know less about developing countries. We analyze how economic and political variables influenced Costa Rican voters in a referendum on CAFTA-DR, an international trade agreement. We find little support for Stolper–Samuelson models of economic preferences, but more support for specific factor models. We also isolate the effects of political parties on the referendum, controlling for many economic factors; we document how at least one party influenced voters and this made the difference for CAFTA-DR passage. Politics, namely parties using their organizational strength to cue and frame messages for voters, influenced this important trade policy decision. Theories about trade policy need to take into account top-down political factors along with economic interests.
Why do governments choose multilateralism? We examine a principal-agent model in which states trade some control over the policy for greater burden sharing. The theory generates observable hypotheses regarding the reasons for and the patterns of support and opposition to multilateralism. To focus our study, we analyze support for bilateral and multilateral foreign aid giving in the US. Using new survey data, we provide evidence about the correlates of public and elite support for multilateral engagement. We find weak support for multilateralism and deep partisan divisions. Reflecting elite discourse, public opinion divides over two competing rationales–-burden sharing and control–-when faced with the choice between multilateral and bilateral aid channels. As domestic groups' preferences over aid policy diverge from those of the multilateral institution, maintaining control over aid policy becomes more salient and support for multilateralism falls.
International trade has become one of the most potent issues in both domestic and international politics these days. Under the rubric of globalization, international trade has become a contentious issue in domestic politics, as the recent WTO conference in Seattle showed. In international politics, trade is today a premiere instrument of statecraft, as witnessed by the US–China trade agreement and the EU's accession negotiations with the countries of East and Central Europe. How can we explain the trade policy choices that states make? What theories do we possess that illuminate the nature of countries' trade relations?
The study of public opinion and foreign policy has a long history (Almond 1950 Converse 1964; Lippmann 1955). This history includes a long-standing debate over the utility of studying public opinion when considering international affairs (Holsti 1992; Mueller 1971; Page and Shapiro 1983, 1992, Wittkopf 1986). The dismissal of the importance of public opinion stems from the concern that the mass public knows little about foreign policy. Prominent theories about foreign policy and international relations give no role to publics (Krasner 1978; Mearsheimer 2001; Waltz 1979). Very few theoretical perspectives in international relations give any weight to public attitudes; neorealism, neoliberalism, and institutionalism provide very little space for the mass public to affect foreign policy.