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Indiana University

Galia Julieta Benitez


Public Policy

Exam and Minor Fields:

Major: Public Policy, Public Management, International Relations (Political Economy)

Special Skills and/or Knowledge Base:

Network analysis

Dissertation Title:


Dissertation Committee:

  • Jeffrey Hart, Chair
  • Patrick O’Meara
  • James Perry
  • Armando Razo

Current Dissertation Progress and Expected Defense Date:

Progress: I collected all my data, coded my interviews and handed the first chapter to my committee. Currently, I am finishing up the matrix construction, analysis of the data, and writing my results for the next chapter.

Expected Defense Date: July 2010

Dissertation Abstract:

The central issue in regional trade agreements is the ongoing persistence of trade barriers and tariff distortions. These contractual holes and loopholes, as Hoekman and Leidy (1993) calls these deviations, involve numerous exceptions, sectoral exclusions, market-sharing arrangements and escape clauses of various kinds that present formidable obstacles to deepening integration. Some have argued that because of fewer members liberalization is much easier in RTAs than in multilateral trade agreements. On the contrary, some empirical evidence suggests the same political economic forces that block liberalization at the multilateral level are also present at the regional level (Hoekman and Leidy 1993). In light of this impasse, my dissertation by using network analysis examines how interactions among trade associations, individual businesses, and the state in regional trade agreements (RTAs) may contribute to the industry-level cross-sectional deviations from common external tariffs. The empirical discussion centers on a specific country, Brazil, and the relationship of the executive branch of the Brazilian state with special interest groups in three production sectors: automotive, textile, and agriculture.

The dissertation responds to the following three questions. First, who actively participates in tariff setting? Second, what attributes characterize business and trade associations and the positions they occupy within the trade policy network? Finally, how do the most influential actors use their networks to participate politically and to affect the focal trade policy?