Christina Davis

Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School

Affiliated Faculty

 229 Bendheim Hall

 Curriculum Vitae





Christina L. Davis is Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University in the Department of Politics and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.  Her research interests include the politics and foreign policy of Japan, East Asia, and the study of international organizations and focus on trade policy. She is the author of Food Fights Over Free Trade: How International Institutions Promote Agricultural Trade Liberalization (Princeton University Press, 2003), and Why Adjudicate? Enforcing Trade Rules in the WTO (Princeton University Press 2012). Her research has been published in the American Political Science Review, Comparative Politics, International Security, World Politics and other leading journals.


Food Fights Over Free Trade How International Institutions Promote Agricultural Trade Liberalization by Christina Davis
(Princeton University Press, April 2005)


This detailed account of the politics of opening agricultural markets explains how the institutional context of international negotiations alters the balance of interests at the domestic level to favor trade liberalization despite opposition from powerful farm groups. Historically, agriculture stands out as a sector in which countries stubbornly defend domestic programs, and agricultural issues have been the most frequent source of trade disputes in the postwar trading system. While much protection remains, agricultural trade negotiations have resulted in substantial concessions as well as negotiation collapses. Food Fights Over Free Trade shows that the liberalization that has occurred has been due to the role of international institutions. Christina Davis examines the past thirty years of U.S. agricultural trade negotiations with Japan and Europe based on statistical analysis of an original dataset, case studies, and in-depth interviews with over one hundred negotiators and politicians. She shows how the use of issue linkage and international law in the negotiation structure transforms narrow interest group politics into a more broad-based decision process that considers the larger stakes of the negotiation. Even when U.S. threats and the spiraling budget costs of agricultural protection have failed to bring policy change, the agenda, rules, and procedures of trade negotiations have often provided the necessary leverage to open Japanese and European markets. This book represents a major contribution to understanding the negotiation process, agricultural politics, and the impact of international institutions on domestic politics.