Partisanship and Trade Policy: Is There a Left-Right Divide on Trade Policy?

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Date Presented:

Aug 12, 2002


Is there a noticeable difference among political parties in a country in 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 1945–98 to see how their parties have competed over trade policy. Controlling for various factors, partisanship matters. In terms of position taking, 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 debate domestically over exposure to international trade.

Last updated on 03/22/2015