Interpreting NAFTA: The Science and Art of Political Analysis

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Overview

Drawing on a wide range of documents and interviews with officials in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, as well the author's experience as an aide to Senator Bill Bradley during negotiations, Interpreting NAFTA is a history of the agreement's development, from opening talks to final passage. Frederick W. Mayer combines 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 as simultaneously a matter of political interests, institutions, and ideas.

A Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title of the Year

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Editorial Reviews

I.M. Destler
Interpreting NAFTA will surely be recognized as the definitive work on the negotiation and ratification of the most controversial trade agreement in American history.
John S. Odell
Interpreting NAFTA is superb. It is original, highly creative, clearly structured, supported by sound scholarship, and fascinating.
I. Walter
Mayer has produced an excellent political economy treatise on the conceptualization and launch of the North American Free Trade Agreement -probably the definitive treatment of the subject available today.
H-Net Reviews
An excellent example of using theory to illuminate a particular event.
Booknews
Mayer political science, Duke U. and former aide to Senate Democrat Bill Bradley offers a political analysis of all stages of the NAFTA negotiating process, using a broad theoretical framework combining international relations and domestic politics angles and integrating rational choice, institutionalist, and symbolic constructivist approaches. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
H-Net Reviews

An excellent example of using theory to illuminate a particular event.

Choice
Mayer has produced an excellent political economy treatise on the conceptualization and launch of the North American Free Trade Agreement — probably the definitive treatment of the subject available today.

— I. Walter, New York University

Latin American Research Review
Mayer's Interpreting NAFTA: The Science and Art of Political Analysis quickly became a classic in the field.... Mayer's conceptual framework creatively shows how rational choice, institutional process, and symbolic analysis are each incomplete yet complementary. His combination of crisp, accessible prose and an eclectic conceptual approach works well.

— Jonathan Fox

Choice - I. Walter

Mayer has produced an excellent political economy treatise on the conceptualization and launch of the North American Free Trade Agreement--probably the definitive treatment of the subject available today.

Latin American Research Review - Jonathan Fox

Mayer's Interpreting NAFTA: The Science and Art of Political Analysis quickly became a classic in the field.... Mayer's conceptual framework creatively shows how rational choice, institutional process, and symbolic analysis are each incomplete yet complementary. His combination of crisp, accessible prose and an eclectic conceptual approach works well.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231109802
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/5/1998
  • Pages: 374

Meet the Author

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

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction 1
2 A Framework for Political Analysis 12
3 Why a North American Free Trade Agreement? 31
Interpreting the Decision to Negotiate: The Uses and Limits of International Theory 51
4 Domestic Politics Matters: The Fast Track Fight 67
Interpreting the Domestic Politics of Decision: The Role of Institutions and Interests 94
5 Two-Level Bargaining: The NAFTA Negotiation 109
Interpreting International Negotiations: Domestic Politics and International Bargaining 146
6 Making Side Issues Central: The Labor and Environment Negotiations 165
Interpreting the Side Negotiations: Issue Linkage, Deep Nesting, and the Political Context 205
7 Symbolic Politics: Growing Grassroots Opposition 219
Interpreting Grassroots Opposition: The Markets for Meaning 257
8 Diagnosis and Strategy: The Campaign for NAFTA 273
Interpreting the Victory: Political Diagnosis and Political Strategy 320
9 Conclusions 335
Notes 345
Bibliography 361
Index 367
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