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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Even though the economics community argues that governments which abstain from using border measures to influence trade flows will be rewarded with rising national incomes, policymakers regularly enact a variety of trade barriers. Trade policy is an arena in which theory and politics diverge widely. Why does state policy so often diverge from well-supported economic advice? The current wave of liberalization occurred among democracies as well as autocracies, accelerating at the end of the twentieth century. This change in policy reflects the adopting of rules and norms now identified with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization, enabling politicians to support free trade. This article explains the origin of these rules and norms, and analyses the domestic constraints on trade liberalization, focusing on the politics of trade in the United States at the time of the regime's creation.

Keywords: Tariffs and Trade, World Trade Organization, free trade, domestic politics, trade liberalization, United States, trade flows, trade barriers

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