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'Economic Patriotism' in Liberal Market Economies: UK and US Policies Towards Sovereign Wealth Fund Investment

Friday April 26, 2013, from 14:00 to 16:00
Room Fred Halliday - IBEI (1st Floor)
Research seminar
Mark Thatcher (London School of Economics)

A developing literature argues that in the face of economic internationalisation, the state, including in liberal market economies, pursues policies of ‘economic patriotism’ that promote domestic economic interests. It can do so not only through traditional protectionism, but ‘liberal economic patriotism’ that involves opening domestic markets. The article examines when and why ‘liberal market economies’ choose different forms of economic patriotism in a significant case study- sovereign wealth fund (SWF) equity investment in the UK and US. SWF equity investment offers a hard test for liberal economic patriotism because opening markets to international entry leads to the return of public ownership by foreign non-democratic states.  Nevertheless the central finding is that ‘liberal economic patriotism’ has been strong in both countries. But there have been variations involving the occasional use of protectionism through classic entry barriers. The article uses process tracing and these variations to identify how three factors that influence which type of economic patriotism is chosen: whether participants in decision making are limited to financial or economic parts of the executive or are broadened; whether SWF investment is defined as an economic governance question or one of national security; the extent of wider public attention. 


Seminar IBEI Thatcher