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The Globalisation Crisis: Populism and the Rise of an Anti-Trade Coalition

Judith Goldstein, Robert Gulotty

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The contemporary sclerosis of trade policy challenges the merits of open markets and has raised significant attention to the unequal distribution of gains from international market forces. We argue that the failures of trade policy are more a consequence of past policy choices, particularly the purposeful design of both international and domestic institutions. Using a novel panel-survey of Americans through the great recession, we show that past apparent support for free trade and open markets was ephemeral. In the tradition of historical institutionalism, we show how institutions designed in one era to shield policy makers from import competing voices were `locked in’ and prevented otherwise efficient remedies for the distributive effects of globalisation.

Keywords: US trade policy, populism, job displacement, GATT/WTO