Under what conditions do states uphold their formal trade commitments? While recent work focuses on the formation and design of trade agreements, we know comparatively little about the durability of agreements over time. We argue that government turnover undermines states’ commitments to liberalization, even if they have already signed an international agreement meant to constrain their behavior. We test this argument using data on realized trade in the presence of around 300 preferential trade agreements (PTAs) since 1970. Even in the presence of an international agreement, ideological turnover is associated with increased political barriers to trade, especially when the shift is toward left-wing leaders. These findings have important implications for our understanding of international cooperation: If new leaders do not adhere to their predecessors’ commitments, international agreements may not have lasting economic consequences.
- economic policy
- intergovernmental relations
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science