Resistance To Liberalization: The Effects Of Individual Decision Making On Opposition To Multilateral Liberalization Through The WTO

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Lynda D. Vargha

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Abstract

This paper examines the sources of the resistance to liberalization in the United States and its effects on the political climate in which the WTO member nations continue to pursue liberalization.  This analysis utilizes the findings of mainstream economic theory to argue that opposition to the WTO is rooted in rational economic decision-making. A majority-voting model is used to more formally illustrate that this rational decision making affects the composition of public opposition and results in a resistance to liberalization by a majority of the populace, even if a majority will benefit from the movement toward free trade.  The paper concludes with a discussion of the policy implications of the theoretical analysis focusing on the importance of Trade Adjustment Assistance and continued multilateral liberalization through the WTO.

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