Despite increasing polarization in the House of Representatives, preferential trade agreements (PTAs) often pass not only with, but often because of, support from both parties. What explains these patterns? When do members cross party lines to support (or oppose) trade legislation? We argue that members are both ideologically and electorally motivated. Further, we argue that the relative balance of these incentives varies across the membership in meaningful ways. We examine House votes on 11 PTAs and find that ideology and district trade position have independent effects on support for free trade. We also find that the effect of trade position is conditioned by the ideology of the legislator; moderates are more responsive to their constituents' interests on trade.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations