Publications

Submitted
de la Cuesta, Brandon, et al. Submitted. “Do Indirect Taxes Promote Accountability? Testing The Effects of Revenue Modality on Citizen Behavior”. American Journal of Political Science.Abstract

Governments that rely on taxation, rather than non-earned revenues such as aid or oil, are believed to attain better outcomes across a range of governance measures. Yet this positive tax effect may fail to result from all forms of taxes. In particular, indirect taxes such as VAT or sales tax are less visible than direct taxes and, further, indirect taxes may not “bite” like direct taxes because individuals typically receive a valued good at the moment of paying them. Thus, the accountability gains from taxation may hold more strongly for direct than indirect taxes. Yet we lack compelling evidence regarding differential effects of tax mode and on the mechanisms through which different forms might operate. To fill this lacuna, we first report lab-in-the-field experiments, conducted in Uganda, showing that less visible indirect taxes have smaller effects on citizens’ accountability demands. We then describe survey experiments from Uganda demonstrating that indirect taxes are typically not visible to consumers when purchasing. Finally, cross-national data indicate that, while direct taxes are associated with lower corruption, indirect taxes are not.

vat_april_2020.pdf
Milner, Helen V, and Sondre U. Solstad. Submitted. “Technological Change and the International System”. World Politics.Abstract
Does world politics affect the adoption of new technology? States overwhelmingly rely on technology invented abroad, and their differential intensity of technology use accounts for much of their differences in economic development. Much of the literature on technology adoption focuses on domestic conditions. We argue that the structure of the international system is critical. It affects the level of competition among states which in turn affects leaders’ willingness to enact policies that speed technology adoption. Countries adopt new technology as they seek to avoid vulnerability to attack or coercion by other countries. We examine this systematically by considering states’ adoption of technology over the past 200 years. We find that countries adopted new technologies faster when the international system was less concentrated, that systemic change Granger-caused technology adoption, and that policies to promote technology adoption were related to concerns about rising international competition. A competitive international system is an important incentive for technological change, and may underlie global “technology waves”.
technology_diffusion_and_the_international_system-milner-solstad-2020.pdf
de la Cuesta, Brandon, et al. Submitted. “Foreign Aid, Oil Revenues, and Political Accountability: Evidence from Six Experiments in Ghana and Uganda”. The Review of International Organizations. Foreign Aid, Oil Revenues, and Political Accountability.pdf
Forthcoming
de la Cuesta, Brandon, et al. Forthcoming. “Owning It: Accountability and Citizens’ Ownership over Oil, Aid, and Taxes”. The Journal of Politics. ownership_maintext_final.pdf ownership_appendix_final.pdf
Kim, In Song, and Helen V. Milner. Forthcoming. “Multinational Corporations and their Influence Through Lobbying on Foreign Policy”. In Multinational Corporations in a Changing Global Economy, Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.Abstract
Multinational corporations (MNCs) play significant roles in shaping the global economy. Despite the prevalence of the economic activities of MNCs across the globe, few studies exist that examine their political influence on foreign policy-making. This chapter develops a theoretical framework for understanding how MNCs’ unique positions in the market affect their political activities. Specifically, we argue that MNCs’ economic dominance reduces the relative cost of engaging in political activities, while their large-scale transnational activities increase the marginal benefits of influencing policy-making individually. To examine this empirically, we first introduce a novel dataset of lobbying in the US encompassing lobbying activities of all public firms from 1999 to 2019. We then employ a difference-in-differences identification strategy to estimate the effect of MNC status on lobbying. We find strong evidence for an increase in lobbying expenditures when firms become multinational. Furthermore, we find that MNCs tend to lobby on a more diverse set of foreign policy issues. Our findings suggest that MNCs are important political actors whose distinct interests and influence should be incorporated into our understanding of foreign policy-making.
Multinational Corporations and their Influence Through Lobbying on Foreign Policy (March 2020)
2019
de la Cuesta, Brandon, et al. 2019. “Oil and Aid Revenue Produce Equal Demands for Accountability as Taxes in Ghana and Uganda”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Received wisdom argues that citizens more readily demand accountability from government for taxes than for non-tax revenue from oil or foreign aid, giving rise to an important mechanism underlying the resource curse. However, in developing countries, obfuscation through value-added taxes and strong popular feelings of ownership over all revenues may minimize differences across revenue sources. Identical experiments on representative samples of Ghanaians and Ugandans and similar experiments on members of parliament probe the effects of different sources and delivery channels of government revenues on citizens’ actions to monitor governments and MPs’ beliefs about accountability pressures. Roughly half of all citizens take action to monitor all three sources. But neither Ghanaians nor Ugandans demand more accountability for taxes than oil or aid when the revenues go to the government. MPs likewise saw no difference. Citizens do differentiate between aid money given to non-governmental organizations compared to revenues delivered to the government. Findings are robust to numerous alternatives and subgroups. Against strong expectations from prior research, little evidence exists showing that taxes strengthen citizens’ demands for accountability or that MPs perceive differences across revenue sources in these two representative African countries. However, aid channeled through NGOs motivates more accountability pressures.
Jamal, Amaney, and Helen V. Milner. 2019. “Economic Self-Interest, Information, and Trade Policy Preferences: Evidence from an Experiment in Tunisia”. Review of International Political Economy 26 (4) : 545-572. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We address a central question about the integration of developing countries into the global economy: what factors affect public support for such globalization. Do public preferences toward trade correlate with its economic consequences or sociocultural resonances? Using a nationally representative survey experiment in Tunisia, a majority Muslim, developing country, we investigate whether providing information about trade's distributional consequences causes respondents to connect their economic self-interest to their trade policy preferences. Respondents seem to understand their economic self-interest, and information provision enhances this. Information about the likely benefits of trade causes people in the export-oriented sector to respond more positively to trade liberalization, as economic theory predicts. Information about its costs has confounding effects on those in import-competing sectors; those involved in global value chains maintain support for trade more than those outside such production chains who become protectionist. We find scant evidence that sociotropic, political, or cultural variables influence trade attitudes. Contributing to the recent debates over trade policy preferences, we show that public preferences align most strongly with their economic self-interest as derived from recent trade theories.

ripe-2019.pdf tunisia_trade_appendix_ripe.pdf
Kim, In Song, et al. 2019. “Firms and Global Value Chains: Identifying Firms' Multidimensional Trade Preferences”. International Studies Quarterly 63 (1) : 153-167. URLAbstract
Trade policy has become increasingly multidimensional. Current trade agreements not only address market access but also encompass rules and provisions related to flexibility of commitment, investment protection, and dispute settlement mechanisms. Yet, rigorous evidence about how interest groups evaluate each policy measure in relation to others remains scarce. We develop a firm-level theoretical framework to explain how firms’ international operations affect their preferences on different trade policy measures. We experimentally evaluate preferences over multiple policy dimensions using a conjoint analysis on firms in Costa Rica. Notably, for many types of firms, the standard trade policy measures of yesteryear — tariffs and subsidies — are no longer their most important concerns. Instead, the degree of firms’ involvement in global value chains shapes their preferences. Multinational corporations care most about protection of their foreign investments. Strong dispute settlement procedures are most valued by exporters who are not central to global supply networks. Finally, preferences over these policy dimensions are more likely to vary by firm, not by industry, challenging the conventional focus on inter-industry distinctions in the literature.
isq2019.pdf
2018
Chaudoin, Stephen, et al. 2018. “A Liberal International American Foreign Policy Under Trump? Maybe Down but Not Out”. In Chaos in the Liberal Order: The Trump Presidency and International Politics in the 21st Century, ed. Robert Jervis, Francis J. Gavin, and Joshua Rovner. New York: Columbia University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Donald Trump’s election has called into question many fundamental assumptions about politics and society. Should the forty-fifth president of the United States make us reconsider the nature and future of the global order? Collecting a wide range of perspectives from leading political scientists, historians, and international-relations scholars, Chaos in the Liberal Order explores the global trends that led to Trump’s stunning victory and the impact his presidency will have on the international political landscape.

Contributors situate Trump among past foreign policy upheavals and enduring models for global governance, seeking to understand how and why he departs from precedents and norms. The book considers key issues, such as what Trump means for America’s role in the world; the relationship between domestic and international politics; and Trump’s place in the rise of the far right worldwide. It poses challenging questions, including: Does Trump’s election signal the downfall of the liberal order or unveil its resilience? What is the importance of individual leaders for the international system, and to what extent is Trump an outlier? Is there a Trump doctrine, or is America’s president fundamentally impulsive and scattershot? The book considers the effects of Trump’s presidency on trends in human rights, international alliances, and regional conflicts. With provocative contributions from prominent figures such as Stephen M. Walt, Andrew J. Bacevich, and Samuel Moyn, this timely collection brings much-needed expert perspectives on our tumultuous era.
pre_print.pdf
Spilker, Gabriele, et al. 2018. “Trade at the Margin: Estimating the Economic Implications of Preferential Trade Agreements”. The Review of International Organizations 13 (2) : 189-242 . Publisher's VersionAbstract

Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) have become the most prevalent form of international trade liberalization in recent decades, even though it remains far from clear what their effects on economies and their key units, firms, are. This paper evaluates the distributional consequences of trade liberalization within industries differentiating two distinct aspects in which trade liberalization could result in higher trade flows: the intensive vs. the extensive margin of trade. In particular, we analyze whether trade liberalization leads to increased trade flows because either firms trade more volume in products they have already traded before (intensive margin) or because they start to trade products they have not traded previously (extensive margin), or both. We test these arguments for the Dominican Republic–Central America–United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and exporting firms based in Costa Rica for the time-period 2008–2014. The results of our study suggest that the effects of CAFTA-DR depend not only on whether we analyze the extensive versus the intensive margin of trade but also whether the product in question is homogenous or differentiated and whether the exporting firm under analysis is small or large. In particular, we find support for the theoretical expectation that firms exporting heterogeneous products, such as textiles, gain from trade agreements, such as CAFTA-DR, in that they can export more varieties of their products. Yet at the same time, they tend to lose at the intensive margin by a reduction in their trade volume while the opposite pattern occurs for firms exporting homogenous products.

rio_ptas.pdf
Mansfield, Edward, and Helen V. Milner. 2018. “The Domestic Politics of Preferential Trade Agreements in Hard Times”. World Trade Review 17 (3) : 371-403. Publisher's VersionAbstract

There is evidence that some countries negotiate trade agreements during economic downturns. Why would a leader do this? We argue that political leaders can gain from such agreements because of the signals they send to their public. The public are less likely to blame leaders for adverse economic conditions when they have implemented sound economic policies, such as signing agreements designed to liberalize trade and prevent a slide into protectionism. In hard economic times, leaders – especially those in democratic environments – may find that trade agreements are a useful way to reassure the public. Since majorities in many countries around the world view trade favorably, leaders may see agreements that prevent them from adopting protectionism as a way to maintain support. We evaluate this argument by analyzing preferential trade agreements (PTAs) formed since 1962. We find that, on average, democratic countries are more likely to ratify PTAs during hard economic times. We also find that democratic leaders who sign PTAs during downturns enjoy a longer tenure than their counterparts who do not sign such agreements.

wtr-ptas.pdf
2017
Chilton, Adam, Helen V. Milner, and Dustin Tingley. 2017. “Trump just blocked a Chinese takeover of a sensitive U.S. company. Here’s what’s going on.”. Washington Post Monkey Cage. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Even in cases where the national security implications of sales have been less clear, Chinese investors looking to buy U.S. companies have been facing increasing scrutiny. Over the past several years, we have been researching the role that politics plays in regulating investments between the United States and China. We find that even though the explicit justification for U.S. hostility to Chinese investments is national security, much of the real politics involves the question of whether China is willing to reciprocate U.S. market openness by opening up its own companies to U.S. investors.
wp_mc_2017_trump_just_blocked_a_chinese_takeover_of_a_sensitive_u.s._company._heres_whats_going_on.pdf
Findley, Michael G., Helen V. Milner, and Daniel L. Nielson. 2017. “The choice among aid donors: The effects of multilateral vs. bilateral aid on recipient behavioral support”. The Review of International Organizations 12 (2) : 307–334. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Scholars studying foreign assistance differ over whether multilateral aid is preferable to bilateral aid for promoting development, but nearly all build their cases primarily on highly aggregated cross-national time-series data. We investigate this topic experimentally from the perspective of those whom the foreign aid directly affects: recipient citizens and elites. We thus report results of a survey experiment with behavioral outcomes on more than 3000 Ugandan citizens and over 300 members of Uganda’s Parliament. In spite of a large literature suggesting differences, the findings generally reveal few substantive differences in citizens’ and elites’ preferences and behavior toward the two types of aid. While no strong pattern of differences emerges, limited evidence suggests that the public evinces greater trust in multilateral institutions, and both masses and elites feel that multilateral aid is more transparent. Overall, these null results inform an ever-expanding literature, which is increasingly articulating distinctions between multilateral and bilateral aid. At least in the minds of the recipients, however, multilateral and bilateral aid may not in fact be all that different. This accords with the literature noting the strong overlap in aid organizations and bemoaning the fact that they do not specialize more. Our results raise the question about why have both multilateral and bilateral aid donors if they in effect do the same thing.

fmn_rio_2017.pdf
Chilton, Adam S., Helen V. Milner, and Dustin Tingley. 2017. “Reciprocity and Public Opposition to Foreign Direct Investment”. British Journal of Political Science. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Prior international political economy public opinion research has primarily examined how economic and socio-cultural factors shape individuals’ views on the flows of goods, people and capital. This research has largely ignored whether individuals also care about rewarding or punishing foreign countries for their policies on these issues. We tested this possibility by administering a series of conjoint and traditional survey experiments in the United States and China that examined how reciprocity influences opposition to foreign acquisitions of domestic companies. We find that reciprocity is an important determinant of public opinion on the regulation of foreign investments. This suggests the need to consider the policies that other countries adopt when trying to explain public attitudes toward global economic integration.

reciprocity_and_public_opposition_to_foreign_direct_investment.pdf
Osgood, Iain, et al. 2017. “The Charmed Life of Superstar Exporters: Survey Evidence on Firms and Trade Policy”. Journal of Politics 79 (1) : 133-152. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

milner_jop_exporters.pdf
Chaudoin, Stephen, Helen V. Milner, and Dustin Tingley. 2017. “A Liberal International American Foreign Policy? Maybe Down but Not Out”. H-Diplo/ISSF Policy Roundtable 1 (6). Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

h-diplo_issf.pdf
Chaudoin, Stephen, and Helen V. Milner. 2017. “Science and the System: IPE and International Monetary Politics”. Review of International Political Economy 24 (4) : 681-698. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

milner_ipe_money.pdf
Findley, Michael G., et al. 2017. “Who Controls Foreign Aid? Elite versus Public Perceptions of Donor Influence in Aid-Dependent Uganda”. International Organization 71 (4) : 633-663. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

fhmn_io_uganda_elite_mass.pdf
2016
Findley, Michael G., Helen V. Milner, and Daniel L. Nielson. 2016. “Citizen preferences and public goods: comparing preferences for foreign aid and government programs in Uganda”. The Review of International Organizations 11 (2) : 219-245. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

mnf_rio_2016.pdf mnf_rio_2016_appendix.pdf
Chaudoin, Stephen, Helen V. Milner, and Xun Pang. 2016. “National Policy Autonomy and the Moderating Effects of Supranational Organizations”. International Studies Quarterly 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

Kim, Soo Yeon, Edward D. Mansfield, and Helen V. Milner. 2016. “Regional Trade Governance”. In Oxford Handbook of Comparative Regionalism, Oxford (UK): Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

2015
Milner, Helen V., and Nita Rudra. 2015. “Globalization and the Political Benefits of the Informal Economy ”. International Studies Review 17 (4) : 664-669. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

mr_isr_2015.pdf
Milner, Helen V., et al. 2015. “The Political Economy of Inward FDI: Opposition to Chinese Mergers and Acquisitions”. Chinese Journal of International Politics 8 (1) : 27-57. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

txcm_cjip_2015.pdf
Mansfield, Edward D., and Helen V. Milner. 2015. “The Political Economy of Preferential Trade Agreements”. In Trade Cooperation: The Purpose, Design and Effects of Preferential Trade Agreements, Cambridge (UK), New York: Cambridge University Press , p. 56-81. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

Sailing the Water’s Edge: The Domestic Politics of American Foreign Policy
Milner, Helen V., and Dustin Tingley. 2015. 352 Sailing the Water’s Edge: The Domestic Politics of American Foreign Policy. Princeton: Princeton University Press. PublisherAbstract

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.

2014
Büthe, Tim, and Helen V. Milner. 2014. “Foreign Direct Investment and Institutional Diversity in Trade Agreements: Credibility, Commitment, and Economic Flows in the Developing World, 1971–2007”. World Politics 66 (1) : 88-122. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

tbhvm_wp_2014.pdf
Chaudoin, Stephen, Helen V. Milner, and Xun Pang. 2014. “International Systems and Domestic Politics: Linking Complex Interactions with Empirical Models in International Relations”. International Organization 69 (2) : 275-309. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

cmp_io_2014.pdf cmp_io_2014_appendix.pdf
Milner, Helen V. 2014. “Introduction: The Global Economy, FDI, and the Regime for Investment”. World Politics 66 (1) : 1-11. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

hvm_wp_2014.pdf
Cao, Xun, et al. 2014. “Research Frontiers in Comparative and International Environmental Politics: An Introduction”. Comparative Political Studies 47 (3) : 291-308. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

cmpw_cps_2014.pdf
Hicks, Raymond, Helen V. Milner, and Dustin Tingley. 2014. “Trade Policy, Economic Interests, and Party Politics in a Developing Country: The Political Economy of CAFTA-DR”. International Studies Quarterly 58 (1) : 106–117. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

hicksmilnertingley_politicaleconomyofcafta.pdf
2013
Milner, Helen V., and Dustin Tingley. 2013. “The Choice for Multilateralism: Foreign Aid and American Foreign Policy”. The Review of International Organizations 8 (3) : 313–341. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

milner_tingley_2013.pdf
Milner, Helen V. 2013. “International Trade”. In Handbook of International Relations, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications , p. 720-745. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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?

milner_2013_international_trade.pdf
Milner, Helen V., and Dustin Tingley. 2013. “Public Opinion and Foreign Aid: A Review Essay”. International Interactions 39 (3) : 389-401. Publisher's VersionAbstract

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.

hvmdt_ii_2013.pdf
2012
Mansfield, Edward D., and Helen V. Milner. 2012. “Preferential Trade Agreements in Hard Times”. The Political Economist 9 (2) : 9-12. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Agreements about foreign trade policy have long been key features of the international political economy. Among the most important agreements of this sort are preferential trade agreements (PTAs), which are designed to foster economic integration among member-states by improving and stabilizing the access that each member has to the other participants’ markets. PTAs are a broad class of international agreements that include common markets, customs unions (CUs), free trade areas (FTAs), and economic unions. These agreements have marked the global landscape for centuries, but they have proliferated especially rapidly over the past half-century, and hundreds of them currently dot the international system. The spread of PTAs continues unabated and is one of the most significant trends in the international political economy

mansfield_milner_pol_economist_2012.pdf
Votes, Vetoes, and the Political Economy of International Trade Agreements
Mansfield, Edward D., and Helen V. Milner. 2012. 224 Votes, Vetoes, and the Political Economy of International Trade Agreements. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Preferential trading arrangements (PTAs) play an increasingly prominent role in the global political economy, two notable examples being the European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement. These agreements foster economic integration among member states by enhancing their access to one another's markets. Yet despite the importance of PTAs to international trade and world politics, until now little attention has been focused on why governments choose to join them and how governments design them. This book offers valuable new insights into the political economy of PTA formation. Many economists have argued that the roots of these agreements lie in the promise they hold for improving the welfare of member states. Others have posited that trade agreements are a response to global political conditions. Edward Mansfield and Helen Milner argue that domestic politics provide a crucial impetus to the decision by governments to enter trade pacts. Drawing on this argument, they explain why democracies are more likely to enter PTAs than nondemocratic regimes, and why as the number of veto players--interest groups with the power to block policy change--increases in a prospective member state, the likelihood of the state entering a trade agreement is reduced. The book provides a novel view of the political foundations of trade agreements.

2011
Milner, Helen V., and Dustin H. Tingley. 2011. “Who supports global economic engagement? The sources of preferences in American foreign economic policy”. International Organization 65 (01) : 37-68. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this article we bring together opposing international relations theories to better understand U.S. foreign policy, in particular foreign trade and aid. Using votes in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979–2004, we explore different theoretical predictions about preferences for foreign economic policy. We assess the impact of domestic factors, namely political economy and ideological preferences, versus foreign policy pressures. Our three main results highlight the differential effect of these factors in the two issue areas. First, aid preferences are as affected by domestic political economy factors as are trade preferences. Second, trade preferences, but not economic aid ones, are shaped by the president's foreign policy concerns; for economic aid, domestic political economy factors matter more than foreign policy ones. Third, aid preferences are shaped more by ideological factors than are trade ones, but ideology plays a different substantive role in each. Different constituencies support aid and trade. This finding has implications for foreign policy substitutability, "the internationalist coalition" in U.S. foreign policy, "statist" theories of foreign policy, and the connection between public opinion and legislative voting.

milner_tingley_io_2011.pdf Online Appendix.pdf
2010
Chaudoin, Stephen, Helen V. Milner, and Dustin H Tingley. 2010. “The Center Still Holds: Liberal Internationalism Survives”. International Security 35 (1) : 75-94. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Recent research, including an article by Charles Kupchan and Peter Trubowitz in this journal, has argued that the United States' long-standing foreign policy orientation of liberal internationalism has been in serious decline because of rising domestic partisan divisions. A reanalysis of the theoretical logic driving these arguments and the empirical evidence used to support them suggests a different conclusion. Extant evidence on congressional roll call voting and public opinion surveys, which is often used to support the claim that liberal internationalism has declined, as well as new evidence about partisan divisions in Congress using policy gridlock and cosponsorship data from other studies of American politics do not demonstrate the decline in bipartisanship in foreign policy that conventional wisdom suggests. The data also do not show evidence of a Vietnam War or a post–Cold War effect on domestic partisan divisions on foreign policy. Contrary to the claims of recent literature, the data show that growing domestic political divisions over foreign policy have not made liberal internationalism impossible. It persists as a possible grand strategy for the United States in part because of globalization pressures.

cmt_is_2010.pdf
Replication Data

For further discussion and debate, see the roundtable on H-Diplo about "Is Liberal Internationalism In Decline", here.

Milner, Helen V., and Dustin H. Tingley. 2010. “The Political Economy of U.S. Foreign Aid: American Legislators and the Domestic Politics of Aid”. Economics & Politics 22 (2) : 200–232. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Are there systematic political economy factors that shape preferences for foreign aid, a key component of American foreign policy? We analyze votes in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 2003 that would increase or decrease foreign aid by considering the political, economic, and ideological characteristics of legislators and their districts. To understand who supports and opposes foreign aid, we utilize theories of foreign economic policy preferences. By examining different types of aid policy, we show that domestic politics and especially the distributional consequences of economic aid can matter. The economic characteristics of a district and its left–right ideological predispositions influence support for aid in a systematic fashion over the nearly 25-year period. Stolper–Samuelson models along with political ideology can help explain legislators' preferences toward aid.

milner_tingley_foreign_aid_2010.pdf
Mansfield, Edward D, and Helen V Milner. 2010. “Regime Type, Veto Points, and Preferential Trading Arrangements”. Stanford Journal of International Law 46 : 219-242. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Preferential trading agreements (PTAs) are proliferating rapidly. Scores of these institutions have formed over the past half century and almost every country currently participates in at least one. By 2006, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO), nearly 300 PTAs were in force, covering approximately half of the overseas trade conducted worldwide.' Why states have chosen to enter such arrangements and what bearing the spread of PTAs will have on international affairs are issues that have generated considerable controversy. Some observers fear that these arrangements have adverse economic consequences and have eroded the multilateral system that has guided international economic relations in the post-World War II era. Others argue that such institutions are stepping stones to greater multilateral openness and stability. This debate has stimulated a large body of literature on the economic and political implications of PTAs. Surprisingly little research, however, has analyzed the factors giving rise to these arrangements. The purpose of this article is to help fill that gap.

mansfield_milner_sjil_2010.pdf
2009
Milner, Helen V., and Bumba Mukherjee. 2009. “Democratization and Economic Globalization”. Annual Review of Political Science 12 : 163-181. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We address two questions that are central to the literature on the emergence of democracy and economic globalization. First, does democratization foster higher levels of trade and capital account openness? Second, do trade and capital account openness increase the likelihood of democratization? We review the literature in international political economy and comparative politics that has theoretically and empirically addressed these questions. We then conduct some empirical tests in a sample of developing countries to briefly evaluate the empirical relationship between democracy and economic globalization. Our analysis reveals that evidence for the claim that democracy fosters trade and capital account liberalization is robust but that empirical support for the predicted positive effect of economic openness on democracy among developing countries is weak. More theoretical work is needed to clarify the link between democracy and economic liberalization, and to this end we provide possible topics for future research.

milnermukherjee_arps_2009.pdf
2008
Mansfield, Edward D., Helen V. Milner, and Jon C. Pevehouse. 2008. “Democracy, Veto Players and the Depth of Regional Integration”. World Economy 31 (1) : 67–96. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We examine how domestic political factors influence the type of regional integration arrangement (RIA) that states enter. States can pursue at least five types of RIA, in order of their depth of policy integration: preferential trade agreements, free trade areas, customs unions, common markets and economic unions. We argue that a country's regime type and the number of institutional ‘veto players’ strongly affect the type of arrangement that states choose. Democracies are more likely to form an RIA than other states, a tendency that becomes more pronounced as the proposed level of integration in an arrangement rises. However, all democracies are not the same. As the number of veto players rises, the likelihood of a democracy entering an RIA declines. Furthermore, veto players are expected to have a larger effect on the odds of a democracy forming an RIA, the greater is the extent of integration that the arrangement aims to achieve. A series of statistical tests, based on analysis of all pairs of countries from 1950 to 2000, support our arguments.

mansfieldmilnerpevehouse_worldeconomy_2008.pdf
Büthe, Tim, and Helen V. Milner. 2008. “The Politics of Foreign Direct Investment into Developing Countries: Increasing FDI through International Trade Agreements?”. American Journal of Political Science 52 (4) : 741–762. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The flow of foreign direct investment into developing countries varies greatly across countries and over time. The political factors that affect these flows are not well understood. Focusing on the relationship between trade and investment, we argue that international trade agreements—GATT/WTO and preferential trade agreements (PTAs)—provide mechanisms for making commitments to foreign investors about the treatment of their assets, thus reassuring investors and increasing investment. These international commitments are more credible than domestic policy choices, because reneging on them is more costly. Statistical analyses for 122 developing countries from 1970 to 2000 support this argument. Developing countries that belong to the WTO and participate in more PTAs experience greater FDI inflows than otherwise, controlling for many factors including domestic policy preferences and taking into account possible endogeneity. Joining international trade agreements allows developing countries to attract more FDI and thus increase economic growth.

buthemilner_ajps_2008.pdf
2007
Andonova, Liliana, Edward D. Mansfield, and Helen V. Milner. 2007. “International Trade and Environmental Policy in the Postcommunist World”. Comparative Political Studies 40 (7) : 782-807. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This article examines whether commercial openness has affected environmental policy in the postcommunist countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. During the Cold War, these countries had closed trade regimes combined with little environmental regulation and poor environmental quality. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union, many postcommunist countries have engaged in extensive trade liberalization. Some countries, however, have been slower to open their markets, and others have maintained highly protectionist trade policies. Have countries that opened up to global markets improved their environmental policies, or has increasing exposure to the international trading system undermined efforts to improve environmental policy? The results indicate that trade openness undermined a key element of environmental policy in the region by reducing governments' ability to collect environmental taxes and support environmental investments.

milnerandovamansfield_cps_2007.pdf
Mansfield, Edward D., Helen V. Milner, and Jon C. Pevehouse. 2007. “Vetoing Co-operation: The Impact of Veto Players on Preferential Trading Arrangements”. British Journal of Political Science 37 (3) : 403–432. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Since the Second World War, preferential trading arrangements (PTAs) have become increasingly pervasive features of the international economic system. A great deal of research has addressed the economic consequences of these arrangements, but far less effort has been made to identify the political factors leading states to enter them. In this article, the domestic political factors affecting whether countries enter PTAs are investigated, placing particular emphasis on the number of veto players within a state. It is argued that the probability of forming a PTA declines as the number of such players rises. The results, covering 194 countries from 1950 to 1999, strongly support this argument. Holding various political and economic factors constant, increasing the number of veto players within a country significantly reduces the probability of signing a PTA.

mansfieldmilnerpevehouse_bjps_2007.pdf
2006
Milner, Helen V. 2006. “The Digital Divide: The Role of Political Institutions in Technology Diffusion”. Comparative Political Studies 39 (2) : 176-199. Publisher's VersionAbstract

What factors have promoted and retarded the spread of the Internet globally? The Internet is one example of the diffusion of technology. Much as other technologies, the Internet has diffused unevenly across countries, raising concerns over a “digital divide.” My main proposition is that its spread has been driven by neither technological nor economic factors alone. Rather, political factors exert a powerful influence. Groups that believe they will lose from the Internet use political institutions to enact policies that block the spread of the Internet. Some political institutions make this easier than others. Data from roughly 190 countries from 1991 to 2001 showthat a country's regime type matters greatly, even when controlling for other economic, technological, political, and sociological factors. Democratic governments facilitate the spread of the Internet relative to autocratic ones. Thus, the spread of democracy may help reduce the digital divide.

milner_cps_2006.pdf
Milner, Helen V. 2006. “Why Multilateralism? Foreign aid and domestic principal-agent problems”. In Delegation and Agency in International Organizations, ed. Darren G. Hawkins, et al. New York: Cambridge University Press , p. 107-139. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Why do countries delegate the distribution of foreign aid to international institutions? Why would governments relinquish control over their aid if they are a useful instrument of statecraft? Governments delegate aid delivery to international institutions when their publics lack information about the consequences of aid and fear that their governments will deviate from their preferences concerning its use. By using the international organization to send aid, the government issues a credible signal to domestic groups about the use of foreign aid. This signal leaves all actors better off by helping to solve a principal-agent problem in domestic politics. When publics are more skeptical about the benefits of aid, governments are more likely to turn aid over to multilateral organizations in order to reassure taxpayers that their money is being well spent. Using data on about 20 donor countries of the OECD from 1960-2000, I investigate the sources of multilateral giving, showing that public opinion has the expected negative relationship to multilateral aid-giving.

milner_whymultilateralism_2006.pdf
2005
Milner, Helen V. 2005. “Review Essay: Globalization, Development, and International Institutions: Normative and Positive Perspectives.”. Perspectives on Politics 3 (4) : 833-854. Publisher's VersionAbstract

1. Introduction. 2. A Brief Review of the Books. 3. The Role of the International Economic Institutions. 4. The Experience of the Developing Countries. 5. Theories about the Functions and Benefits of International Institutions. 1) Constraining the Great Powers. 2) Providing Information and Reducing Transaction Costs. 3) Facilitating Reciprocity. 4) Facilitating Reform in Domestic Politics. 6. Four Sources of the Problems with International Institutions. 1) No Impact. 2) Capture by the Powerful Developed Countries. 3) Capture by Private Producers and Investors. 4) Internal Dysfunctions and Failure of Accountability. 7. International Justice and Institutions: Normative Perspectives. 1) Distributive Justice is Global. 2) Current Counterfactual Assessments are Insufficient. 3) The "Nationalist" Research Agenda Must Change. 8. Conclusions: What is to be Done?

milner_pop_2005.pdf
Milner, Helen V., and Keiko Kubota. 2005. “Why the Move to Free Trade? Democracy and Trade Policy in the Developing Countries”. International Organization 59 (1) : 107–143. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Rising international trade flows are a primary component of globalization. The liberalization of trade policy in many developing countries has helped foster the growth of these flows. Preceding and concurrent with this move to free trade, there has been a global movement toward democracy. We argue that these two trends are related: democratization of the political system reduces the ability of governments to use trade barriers as a strategy for building political support. Political leaders in labor-rich countries may prefer lower trade barriers as democracy increases. Empirical evidence supports our claim about the developing countries from 1970–99. Regime change toward democracy is associated with trade liberalization, controlling for many factors. Conventional explanations of economic reform, such as economic crises and external pressures, seem less salient. Democratization may have fostered globalization in this period.

milner_kubota_io_2005.pdf
2004
Milner, Helen V., and Benjamin Judkins. 2004. “Partisanship, Trade Policy, and Globalization: Is There a Left–Right Divide on Trade Policy?”. International Studies Quarterly 48 (1) : 95–120. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Are there noticeable differences among political parties in a country over their trade policy positions? Do left parties advocate different trade policies than right parties? In the advanced industrial countries where labor tends to be scarce, are left parties more protectionist than right ones, which represent capital owners? Political institutions within these democratic countries may affect the role of partisanship. We also investigate whether increasing globalization has led to more or less partisan polarization over trade policy. We examine 25 developed countries from 1945 to 1998 to see how their parties have competed over trade policy. Controlling for various factors, partisanship matters. Right parties consistently take more free trade stances than do left ones. Globalization and other international forces have also shaped both the nature and the extent of the domestic debate over exposure to international trade.

milnerjudkins_isq_2004.pdf