Politics, path dependence and public goods: the case of international container ports
Hiney, Joseph (2014) Politics, path dependence and public goods: the case of international container ports. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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Globalisation, in the liberal paradigm, implies a trend towards common practices in political, cultural, and economic activities. Scholars disagree on whether we are observing the evolution of an international society, albeit richly diverse, or resilience in nationalist ideas that result in significantly diverse units within an international system. This thesis approaches this broad question from a comparative political economy perspective focussed on a segment of the international maritime trade market.
Amidst the political rhetoric of „selling the family silver‟ and „loss of sovereignty‟ to the market there are observable policy differences across nations, between sectors and between levels of the economy. The differences are also observable over time. Container ports are uniquely suited to understand the comparative political economy of policy change because they are at the intersection between the international forces of globalisation pulling one way, and the domestic forces such as labour offering resistance. I employ statistical methods on original time series cross section data complemented by comparative case studies for the United Kingdom, Indonesia, and South Africa.
The propositions, supported by the quantitative and qualitative evidence, are that domestic politics still has significant influence on international container port policy outcomes; that dock labour will resist, modify, and delay policy shifts; and policy outcomes are path dependent that cluster around regional norms of behaviour.
The thesis contributes to the literature by way of an original study of maritime trade producing innovative data and metrics for policy outcomes; an extension of a regional typology for port governance policy frames; the application of path dependency theories to national policy evolution; and a study of labour interest group resistance to policy change.
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