Developing countries have increasingly opened their economies to trade. Research about trade policy in developed countries focuses on a bottom-up process by identifying economic preferences of domestic groups. We know less about developing countries. We analyze how economic and political variables influenced Costa Rican voters in a referendum on CAFTA-DR, an international trade agreement. We find little support for Stolper-Samuelson models of economic preferences, but more support for specific factor models. We also isolate the effects of political parties on the referendum, controlling for many economic factors; we document how at least one party influenced voters and this made the difference for CAFTA-DR passage. Politics, namely parties using their organizational strength to cue and frame messages for voters, influenced this important trade policy decision. Theories about trade policy need to take into account top-down political factors along with economic interests.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations