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Camyar, Isa. (2012) Party Politics and International Trade: Mainstream Parties, Niche Parties, and Trade Openness. International Studies Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2011.00714.x © 2012 International Studies Association

How does party politics influence trade outcomes? Previous studies offer a limited understanding of the role of political parties in trade policymaking due to their restrictive assumptions that downplay the distinct organizational identity of political parties and the competitive logic of their interactions. This paper develops a theoretical argument that emphasizes the competitive forces of party politics as a key determinant of party preference for trade and hence of trade outcomes. This theoretical argument is illustrated and tested in analysis of the trade implications of strategic interactions between mainstream parties and niche parties. The empirical analyses confirm that party strategic factors need to be assigned a substantial analytical weight in explaining trade outcomes.