Conflict Amid Consensus in American Trade Policy

cover art
224 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878407941 (0878407944)

September 2000
LC: 00-026373

American Governance and Public Policy series



Conflict Amid Consensus in American Trade Policy
Martha L. Gibson
Americans have witnessed inconsistent and seemingly dramatic turnabouts in legislators' attitudes toward trade, with strong bipartisan support for free trade and the Uruguay Round in one instant and heated debate over participation in the World Trade Organization the next. Martha L. Gibson systematically traces the competing forces that interject conflict into an overall consensus on the value of a liberalized trade policy.

Cutting through the tangled web of congressional politics, Gibson shows why it is impossible to understand trade legislation without first understanding how electoral politics and the institutional rules of Congress distort legislators' interests, incentives, and policy goals. Gibson's book clearly shows that trade legislation is not made in a vacuum but is just one in a series of simultaneous games with competing goals in which legislators engage to satisfy the conflicting demands of constituents.
Martha L. Gibson is an associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut and the author of Weapons of Influence: The Legislative Veto, American Foreign Policy and the Irony of Reform (Westview, 1992).
Gerard W. Boychuk, Karen Mossberger, and Mark C. Rom, Series Editors
"An illuminating book the provides the strategic explanation of why, despite expectations, American trade policy exhibits significant variability."—George Tsebelis, University of California at Los Angeles

"This stimulating book should advance both our theoretical understanding of congressional policymaking and our empirical study of trade legislation."—Lawrence Dodd, Manning J. Daeur Eminent Scholar in Political Science, University of Florida

"Enlightens us on the complex patterns of interaction among the determinants and helps to resolve many of the puzzles in the character and cycling of the politics and outcomes that have marked trade policy in the United States during the twentieth century."—Joseph Cooper, Johns Hopkins University