Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International and Development Economics



First Advisor

Bruce Wydick

Second Advisor

Hartmut Fischer

Third Advisor

Suparna Chakraborty


The neoclassical trade model has notoriously been unable to empirically predict trade flows throughout the world, however there has been a notion that the same theories and predictions could also be applied to democratic voting on free trade legislation. Using roll-call votes on three 2011 United States bilateral trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, respectively, a simple empirical model based on the neoclassical concepts, specifically the Heckscher-Ohlin and Stolper-Samuelson corollary theorems, is outlined. After an analysis using a logit estimation method, it is revealed that there is conflicting evidence whether the voting on the 2011 free trade agreements follow the initial predictions given by the model, indicating that the representatives did not explicitly take into account district skill level while voting. However, the results do support that there is certainly a driving factor within the industrial composition of the district, as well as key political and economic components that help explain the voting behavior of Congress.