Mark S. Manger is Assistant Professor of Political Economy at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, following appointments at McGill and LSE. Kenneth C. Shadlen is a Reader in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics. He works on the political economy of development, intellectual property, trade and economic integration, with a focus on Latin America.
Political Trade Dependence and North–South Trade Agreements†
Article first published online: 30 APR 2013
© 2013 International Studies Association
International Studies Quarterly
Volume 58, Issue 1, pages 79–91, March 2014
How to Cite
2014) Political Trade Dependence and North–South Trade Agreements. International Studies Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/isqu.12048and . (
Earlier versions of this article were presented at APSA 2011 in Seattle and at the LSE Third Thursday Political Economy Seminar. We thank Tasha Fairfield, Lloyd Gruber, Edward Mansfield, Erik van der Marel, Kimberly Nolan García, Lauren Phillips, Antonio Postigo-Angon, and Stephanie Rickard for comments, and Kilian Huber for outstanding research assistance. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's 7th Framework Programme [FP7/2007–2013] under grant agreement No. PIRG05-GA-2009-247836 and from a Small Grant from the Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD). Replication data for the article and an appendix providing further details are available at http://www.markmanger.net.
- Issue published online: 19 MAR 2014
- Article first published online: 30 APR 2013
Why do developing countries negotiate North–South trade agreements, when they already enjoy preferential market access to developed-country markets? Most developing countries benefit from the generalized system of preferences (GSP) and related schemes when they export to the United States, the EU, and other developed economies. And yet, many pursue fully reciprocal agreements that require major concessions to the developed partner. We argue that this is due to the nature of the GSP as a unilateral concession that can be (and often is) taken away. High dependence on unilateral, removable preferences generates “political trade dependence” (PTD). We distinguish PTD from standard measures of trade dependence, and we explain why PTD motivates developing countries to seek North–South Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs). We show the effects of PTD with a selection of illustrative cases and test our hypothesis on a data set of EU and US trade agreements with developing countries. We find robust statistical support for our hypothesis that high and rising levels of PTD make the negotiation of a North–South RTA more likely.