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Full-Text Articles in Economic History

The (Far) Backstory Of The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Stephen Meardon Oct 2013

The (Far) Backstory Of The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Stephen Meardon

Economics Department Working Paper Series

In two pairs of episodes, first in 1824 and 1846 and then in 1892 and 1935, similar U.S.-Colombia trade agreements or their enabling laws were embraced first by protectionists and then by free traders. The history of the episodes supports the view that although political institutions exist to curb de facto political power, such power may be wielded to undo the institutions’ intended effects. The doctrinal affinities and interests of political actors are more decisive determinants of the free-trade or protectionist orientation of trade agreements than the agreements’ texts or legal superstructures. The long delay from signing to ...


On Kindleberger And Hegemony: From Berlin To M.I.T. And Back, Stephen Meardon Sep 2013

On Kindleberger And Hegemony: From Berlin To M.I.T. And Back, Stephen Meardon

Economics Department Working Paper Series

The most notable idea of Charles P. Kindleberger’s later career is the value of a single country acting as stabilizer of an international economy prone to instability. It runs through his widely read books, The World in Depression, 1929-1939 (1973), Manias, Crises, and Panics (1978), A Financial History of Western Europe (1984), and kindred works. “Hegemonic stability,” the idea is called in the literature it inspired. This essay traces Kindleberger’s attachment to the idea back to his tenure as chief of the State Department’s Division of German and Austrian Economic Affairs from 1945 to 1947 and adviser ...