A historical institutionalist approach to the Uruguay Round agricultural negotiations

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Abstract

The reduction of agricultural trade barriers accomplished at the close of the Uruguay Round (UR) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is a puzzle because previous research has suggested that producer groups would always succeed in blocking liberalization efforts. The author explains this apparent puzzle through the use of a comparative historical method developed by Collier and Collier for analyzing the UR as a critical juncture. The analysis suggests that transformations in productive technology enabled producer groups to reap extraordinary economic and political rents during most of the post-World War II era. However, the fiscal crises of the 1980s provided governments an incentive to exert relative autonomy from producer groups and initiate bargaining over trade barriers. As trade barriers and the political influence of producer groups were reduced, the UR emerged as the product of a critical juncture in the transition from the Fordist to the post-Fordist mode of agricultural accumulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-428
Number of pages29
JournalComparative Political Studies
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2001

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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