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Building Legislative Coalitions for Free Trade in Asia
Globalization as Legislation

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  • Author: Megumi Naoi, University of California, San Diego
  • Date Published: July 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107037038

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About the Authors
  • What accounts for the large reduction in trade barriers among new democracies in Asia after World War II? Using new data from Japan and Thailand, this book provides a surprising answer: politicians, especially party leaders, liberalized trade by buying off legislative support with side-payments such as pork barrel projects. Trade liberalization was a legislative triumph, not an executive achievement. This finding challenges the conventional 'insulation' argument, which posits that insulating executives from special interest groups and voters is the key to successful trade liberalization. By contrast, this book demonstrates that party leaders built open economy coalitions with legislators by feeding legislators' rent-seeking desires with side-payments rather than depriving their appetites. This book unravels the political foundations of open economy.

    • The first systematic account of party leaders' role in trade liberalization in Asia
    • Offers an in-depth comparison of domestic politics of trade liberalization in two Asian economies - Japan and Thailand
    • Provides a wealth of new commodity and local-level data on trade liberalization, side-payment allocation, and elections
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    • Honourable Mention, 2016 William H. Riker Book Award, Political Economy Section, American Political Science Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this important book, Naoi refocuses the debate on trade politics to pay serious attention to the role of politicians. She argues that political leaders (such as prime ministers) use their control over government resources to shape and mobilize support for their desired trade legislation. It is a great contribution to studies of trade and globalization.' Margarita Estevez-Abe, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, New York

    'Naoi offers a novel view of how countries achieve trade liberalization. Most books do well to challenge at least one conventional wisdom, but Naoi successfully challenges at least three of them. First, the book refutes the common notion that legislators have limited policy-making autonomy and never deviate from their district's interests. Second, the book questions whether compensation strategies occur only in response to the needs and demands of firms or voters hurt by liberalization. Third, compensation strategies that buy support for liberalization can take a wide variety of forms not considered by previous research on this topic, such as subsidies, public work projects, personnel appointments, and even institutional reform. This books promises to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the political foundations of an open economy.' Nita Rudra, Georgetown University, Washington DC

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107037038
    • length: 230 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 160 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 17 b/w illus. 27 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Building Open Economy Coalitions:
    1. Optimal use of pork, policy, and institutional reforms
    Part II. Empirical Evidence:
    2. Use of pork as side-payment
    3. Pro-loser policy during hard times
    4. Helping losers survive elections: use of institutional reforms
    5. Japanese legislators in rival regions
    6. Thai legislators' position-taking on foreign retail investment
    Part III. Discussion:
    7. Globalization as legislation: discussion.

  • Author

    Megumi Naoi, University of California, San Diego
    Megumi Naoi is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. Her work has been published in such journals as the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, and International Organization, where she serves as an editorial board member. She has been a visiting research fellow at Keio University and Waseda University in Tokyo, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, and a pre-doctoral fellow at Princeton's Neihaus Center for Globalization and Governance.


    • Honourable Mention, 2016 William H. Riker Book Award, Political Economy Section, American Political Science Association

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