Faculty Publications

Title

Second image reversed politics: Britain's choice of freer trade or imperial preferences, 1903-1906, 1917-1923, 1930-1932

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International Studies Quarterly

Volume

43

Issue

4

First Page

671

Last Page

693

Abstract

In 1903-1906, 1917-1923, and 1930-1932 British decision makers debated whether to adopt a system of imperial preferences. Preferences were rejected in 1906 and 1923, but adopted in 1932 at the Ottawa Conference. The existing political economy literature focuses primarily on the hegemon's position in the international system, state or society centered arguments, and the role of ideas and beliefs to explain changes in a hegemon's foreign commercial policy. Using a second image reversed argument, I contend that changes in the commercial composition of the emerging contenders from a mix of liberal and nonliberal contenders in the first and second periods (1903-1906; 1917-1923) to nonliberal contenders in the third period (1930-1932) strengthened economic nationalists over free traders, contributing to Britain's adoption of imperial preferences. Although greatly diminished in strength, free traders were able to moderate the protectionist policies through the Ottawa Agreements and the Sterling Area.

Original Publication Date

1-1-1999

DOI of published version

10.1111/0020-8833.00141

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