America's Trade Policy Towards Japan: Demanding Results by John Kunkel

By John Kunkel

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Additional info for America's Trade Policy Towards Japan: Demanding Results (Routledge Advances in International Political Economy, 11)

Sample text

Congress had also sent a strong signal in this direction in the form of the 1988 Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act, including the Japan-focused Super 301 provision. The Bush Administration resisted these pressures, embracing instead the less prescriptive, process-oriented Structural Impediments Initiative. A simple focus on societal pressures offers little help in explaining how SII became the US government’s key innovation in market access policy towards Japan between 1989 and 1992 (see Chapter 8).

The most important of the various elements that describe a game is the payoff structure which illuminates not only why players are interested in playing, but also tells us what they are playing. But as Nelson (1991: 133) observes, given the importance of the payoff structure: it is somewhat surprising to note that in most applications of game theory to specific strategic situations like trade policy, payoffs are (often implicitly) assumed as ‘given’. … If our game theoretic account of the political economy of trade policy is to be at all compelling, we need to be considerably more concrete about the structure of the political space in which the game is played, the nature of outcomes in that space, and the mappings from political to economic outcomes and from economic outcomes to utilities.

As Lowi (1988: 891) has noted, the state-as-actor model is problematic as there are ‘too many characteristics of states, and too many of these characteristics are really continua, with every state placed at a different point on each continuum’. The state is defined here in terms of concrete institutions and actors rather than in terms of its autonomy. First, it is a set of representative institutions structuring state–society relations that is the focus of domestic and international political activity.

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