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Free to Trade: Democracies, Autocracies, and International Trade

Edward D. Mansfield, Helen V. Milner and B. Peter Rosendorff
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 94, No. 2 (Jun., 2000), pp. 305-321
DOI: 10.2307/2586014
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2586014
Page Count: 17
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Free to Trade: Democracies, Autocracies, and International Trade
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Abstract

Relatively little research has focused on whether countries' political institutions affect their international trade relations. We address this issue by analyzing the relationship between regime type and trade policy. In a formal model of commercial policy, we establish that the ratification responsibility of the legislature in democratic states leads pairs of democracies to set trade barriers at a lower level than mixed country-pairs (composed of an autocracy and a democracy). We test this hypothesis by analyzing the effects of regime type on trade during the period from 1960 to 1990. The results of this analysis accord with our argument: Democratic pairs have had much more open trade relations than mixed pairs.

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