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Social Science and Public Policy

The Exclusionary Foundations of Embedded Liberalism

October 10, 2019 at 12:30pm1:30pm EDT

Eggers Hall, 341

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Tom Pepinsky, Professor of Government, Cornell University

Under embedded liberalism, free trade, multinational investment, and liberal immigration policies enabled factors of production to flow across national borders. Analyses since Ruggie (1982) have focused on trade in goods and capital, implicitly assuming that labor represented just another factor of production. We argue that much as capital controls were essential components of the embedded liberal compromise, so too were restrictions on the democratic rights of labor migrants. Generous welfare programs in labor receiving countries thrived alongside accommodative immigration policies, but this arrangement was only tenable if migrants were politically or socially excluded in their destination countries. Embedded liberalism abroad rested on exclusionary political foundations at home. In bringing together the IPE literature on the “Globalization trilemma” (Rodrik) with the comparative politics of citizenship and membership exclusion, we provide a novel account of how embedded liberalism actually worked, with implications for current debates about the fate of the liberal order in a time of populist resurgence. The talk is based on a working paper of the same name, coauthored with Sara Wallace Goodman of UC Irvine.

This event was published on October 4, 2019.

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