Journal article

Beyond Rational Choice: International Trade Law and The Behavioral Political Economy of Protectionism

Anne van Aaken, Jurgen Kurtz

Journal of International Economic Law | Oxford University Press (OUP) | Published : 2019


The classic political economy of trade models state behavior on the international plane by reference to the formation of domestic interests. Voters, interest groups, and politicians are rational actors in this model, pursuing their economic preferences without cognitive or motivational distortions. This article questions the sufficiency of the rational choice model in the formation of contemporary trade policy. Starting from the classic political economy story, this article explores real-world deviations from rationally expected out-comes by drawing on cognitive psychology. Using both theoretical and empirical analysis, we seek to identify key distortions that can better explain voter and po..

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University of Melbourne Researchers