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This study investigates the empirical determinants of the treaty network of the 1860s and 1870s. It makes use of three central theories about the determinants of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) formation, considering economic fundamentals from neoclassical and ‘new’ trade theory, political-economy variables, and international interaction due to trade diversion fears (dependence of later PTAs on former). These possible determinants are operationalized using a newly constructed dataset for bilateral cooperation and non-cooperation among 13 European countries and the US. The results of logistic regression analysis show that the treaty network can be explained by a combination of ‘pure’ welfare-oriented economic theory with political economy and international interaction models.