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National Policy Space: Reframing the Political Economy of Globalization and Its Implications for National Sovereignty and Democracy


This paper critiques the trilemma framing of the political economy of globalization, and offers an alternative framing rooted in the construct of national policy space. Globalization causes changes in policy space that have drop-down implications for national sovereignty and democratic politics. Globalization involves choices regarding the “degree,” “type,” and “dimensions” of international economic integration. Contrary to the trilemma, the multi-faceted nature of the choices means there are no inevitable implications for sovereignty or democracy. Globalization is an intrinsically political project. To the extent it is now driving a nationalistic anti-democratic turn in politics, responsibility lies with political elites.

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