Chaire de recherche du Canada en ÉPI

Université Laval

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Dr Madison Cartwright is a postdoctoral researcher at the ESEI. He completed his PhD in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney in January 2019. Madison's research examines the political economy of international economic law and institutions, with an emphasis on intellectual property. His research also examines business-state relations and economic nationalism in the international economy. Madison's PhD thesis applied historical institutionalism to analysing the United States' international copyright standard setting efforts from 1980 until the present. His postdoctoral research is examining intellectual property in the Asia Pacific, as well as unilateralism in the international economy.

In addition to his work on international political economy, Madison has also contributed to theoretical debates on historical institutionalism, particularly with respect to the role of agents within institutions in explaining both continuity and change.

Research interest

International political economy, economic nationalism, intellectual property, historical institutionalism, trade agreements, process tracing, business-state relations and technological change. 

Teaching

POL-2308A Problèmes de relations internationales : Rising powers in the Asia Pacific (in english).

Peer-reviewed articles

  • Cartwright, M. (2019). Preferential trade agreements and power asymmetries: the case of technological protection measures in Australia. The Pacific Review32(3), 313-335.


    Since the 1980s states have sought to harmonise economic standards to aid the flow of goods, services and finance across borders. The founding agreements of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), for example, harmonised standards on services, intellectual property and investment. However, mutlilateral trade negotiations in the WTO have since stalled. In response, the United States (US) has engaged in forum shopping, using preferential trade agreements at the bilateral, regional and multinational level to harmonise international standards. This article argues that through forum shopping the US has been able to export standards that support the commercial interests of US-based industries more than they encourage economic exchange across borders. Furthermore, because power asymmetries are starker in preferential trade negotiations smaller and middle power states should not enter trade agreements, which include regulatory harmonisation. This is illustrated with the case of the US-Australia free trade agreement, looking specifically at a copyright standard known as technological protection measures (TPMs). It was clear before, during and after the agreement was signed that Australia’s existing standard on TPMs was more popular than the US-style standard. Nevertheless, a US-style standard is in effect domestically because of the trade agreement.


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  • Cartwright, M. (Forthcoming). Historical institutionalism and technological change: the case of Uber. Business and Politics. 


    In recent years, jurisdictions have struggled to address the emergence of ‘sharing’ businesses, such as Uber. These businesses have used technology to avoid the regulations that usually apply to industries such as taxis. By applying a historical institutionalist analysis, this article explains how authorities have responded to these companies. Through a detailed case study of Uber the article makes an empirical contribution by illustrating how regulatory regimes have responded to ‘disruptive’ technology. Furthermore, by applying an exogenously induced and endogenously mitigated model of change the article addresses the bifurcation in historical institutionalist literature between exogenous and endogenous accounts of change. This helps develop historical institutionalism theoretically, responds to criticisms of agent-based approaches and advances a model that can be applied to the study of technological change more generally.


  • Cartwright, M. (2019). Business conflict and international law: the political economy of copyright in the United States. Regulation & Governance. 


    The internet industry has emerged as an important economic and political actor, both within the United States and internationally. Internet companies depend on exceptions from copyright law in order to operate. As a result, internet companies have considerable incentive to try and influence international copyright law. However, the current literature has neglected the role of the internet industry, instead focusing on the influence of copyright owning media companies. By doing so the literature has largely homogenized the concerns of business interests, neglecting the interests of business actors which do not favor stricter copyright protection. By examining business conflict over recent copyright initiatives by the United States, this article criticizes the literature. It illustrates that the internet industry has been able to alter the negotiating preferences of the United States against the wishes of copyright owners. This argues against the homogenization of business interests regarding copyright whilst illustrating the importance of material over discursive factors in determining political outcomes.


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  • Cartwright, M. (2018). Who cares about Reddit? Historical institutionalism and the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT Intellectual Property Act. Policy Studies39(4), 383-401.


    In May 2011, the PROTECT Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) was introduced to the United States Senate boasting 31 sponsors from both the Democratic and Republican Party. By January 2012 PIPA, along with counterpart in the House of Representatives known as
    the Stop Online Piracy Act was indefinitely shelved. Many have attributed this dramatic shift to the widespread backlash against the bills from online activists. The case thus suggests that the Internet has emerged as a powerful tool in allowing ordinary citizens to displace the entrenched power of special interests groups. However, given the role of activists and their rhetorical framing strategies in the defeat of the bills, the case also has theoretical implications for historical institutionalism. Namely, how can historical institutionalism, which favours institutions over agency, especially when explaining continuity, account for this? Can historical institutionalism account for agency, institutions, continuity and change in a unified way? This article responds in two ways. First, it argues that internet companies, not activists, were crucial in explaining the defeat of the bills. Second, it proposes a unified historical institutionalist approach to research, capable of explaining agency within institutions in institutional continuity and change.


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Book chapters

  • Mikler, J. and Madison Cartwright. (2019). “Global Corporations as Agents of Institutional Hybridization: Ford and Volkswagen’s Management-Labor Relations in South Africa”. In Corporate Actors in Global Governance: Business as Usual or New Deal, edited by Matthias Hofferberth. Lynne Rienner.


    Comparativists have long demonstrated that corporations are ‘produced’ through a process of national institutional embedding. However, the globalisation of markets is said to be creating global corporations that no longer have allegiance to their home states. They become as global in their outlook as their interests, and take on an increasingly autonomous existence that is both institutionally as well as physically disembedded from their home states.  In fact, they are seen as proactively attacking national institutional variations.  A key reason for this is that most major industry sectors are oligopolistic. Therefore, global corporations have come to control, rather than compete in, global as well as national markets. Freed from the both the ‘shackles’ of market competition and their home states’ institutions, the result produced is said to be a convergence on neoliberal policies, and a ‘race to the bottom’ as states compete to bid down social and environmental protections to serve the interests of highly mobile capital. The impacts are said to be felt universally, though most acutely in the case of institutionally weaker developing states.

    Are the interests of global corporations as homogeneous as often claimed, and is the result the neoliberalization of developing states’ political economies? To consider these questions we look at the case of investment in South Africa by Ford and Volkswagen, two of the world’s major automotive corporations. Using insights from the comparative capitalism literature, an analysis of South Africa’s political economy, and a content analysis of these corporations’ reporting, we demonstrate that rather than abandoning the management-labor relations of their home states, these corporations have instead sought to retain them. In fact, they have attempted to reproduce their home states’ institutions in their South African operations. From a corporate perspective, their manufacturing operations in South Africa thus represent a case of proactive rather than passive institutional path dependence. From a South African perspective, the management-labor relations they have sought to establish reflect a process of attempted neo-colonisation, and resistance to it, as much as globalisation. The result is that as global corporations become physically disembedded from their home states when they invest and operate abroad, it does not necessarily follow that they become institutionally disembedded as well. Nor does it follow that the states in which they invest ‘surrender’ their institutional differences. As such, foreign investment is a medium for institutional competition between states, rather than annihilation. 


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