Interpreting NAFTA: The Science and Art of Political Analysis

Interpreting NAFTA: The Science and Art of Political Analysis

By: Frederick W. Mayer (author)Hardback

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The free trade agreement between the United States and Mexico was initially negotiated in 1990 and final ratified in 1993, even though it faced intense US public opposition during this period. Fears of losing American jobs and national sovereignty, and concerns about exploitation of Mexican workers and the environment brought together a coalition that included labour unions, environmental groups, and such unlikely allies as Ross Perot, Jesse Jackson and Pat Buchanan. Only through a co-ordinated series of concessions and an intense campaign to reassure the public was the North American Free Trade Agreement finally ratified by Congress. Drawing on a wide range of documents and interviews with officials in the United States, Mexico and Canada, as well as the author's experience as an aide to Senator Bill Bradley during negotiations, this text provides a history of the agreement's development, from opening talks to final passage. The author also draws on recent work in international relations, comparative politics, interest groups and public opinion to develop a broad theoretical framework that crosses between international relations and domestic politics. Mayer demonstrates that to understand NAFTA, one must view it simultaneously as a matter of politics of interest, institutions and ideas.

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About Author

FREDERICK W. MAYER is an associate professor of public policy and political science at Duke University.


1. Introduction 2. A Framework for Political Analysis 3. Why a North American Free Trade Agreement?Interpreting the Decision to Negotiate:The Uses and Limits of International Theory 4. Domestic Politics Matters: The Fast Track FightInterpreting the Domestic Politics of Decision:The Role of Institutions and Interests 5. Two-Level Bargaining: The NAFTA NegotiationInterpreting International Negotiations:Domestic Politics and International Bargaining 6. Making Side Issues Central: The Labor and Environment NegotiationsInterpreting the Side Negotiations: Issue Linkage, Deep Nesting, and the Political Context 7. Symbolic Politics: Growing Grassroots OppositionInterpreting Grassroots Opposition:The Markets for Meaning 8. Diagnosis and Strategy: The Campaign for NAFTAInterpreting the Victory:Political Diagnosis and Political Strategy 9. Conclusions

Product Details

  • publication date: 05/10/1998
  • ISBN13: 9780231109802
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 374
  • ID: 9780231109802
  • weight: 520
  • ISBN10: 0231109806

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