The Empire Trap: The Rise and Fall of U.S. Intervention to Protect American Property Overseas, 1893-2013

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Princeton University Press, 2013 - Business & Economics - 558 pages

"How did the United States come to have an 'informal empire' in the late nineteenth century, and how did it get out of the empire business at the end of the twentieth? How and why did threats and gunboats get replaced by courts and international tribunals in order to protect American property rights in less developed countries--and do these new tools work as well as the old ones? Read this carefully researched and cleverly argued book, and learn the answers."--Stephen Haber, Stanford University

"Noel Maurer's wonderful book explores a long-standing question: as European powers built world empires in the nineteenth century, why did the United States--the leading global economy--not follow suit? The Empire Trap provides readers with the definitive answer."--James Robinson, coauthor of Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

"Challenging previous assumptions about the complex relationship between business and U.S. foreign policy, The Empire Trap describes government efforts to escape business pressure and use foreign policy to promote more significant national interests. There is no better way to judge the security offered by the current international arbitration regime than to understand where it comes from. This book should be read by economic and diplomatic historians, and by business people concerned with protecting their investments in risky countries."--Louis T. Wells, Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management Emeritus, Harvard Business School

"Bringing together an impressive array of cases, this excellent and entertaining book presents an explanation for the pattern of U.S. intervention in foreign countries on behalf of American business interests over roughly a century. Maurer has accomplished something truly remarkable by providing a cohesive explanation across so many regions and over such a length of time. Valuable to many fields, this book will be a springboard for much future scholarship."--Richard Sicotte, University of Vermont

"Through a mix of international history and analysis, this book delves into the idea that U.S. administrations historically found themselves compelled to use military and other coercive force overseas on behalf of American private interests threatened with or suffering expropriation, usually by revolutionary governments. An ambitious work."--Eric Rauchway, author of Blessed Among Nations: How the World Made America

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About the author (2013)

Noel Maurer is associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. He is the author of The Power and the Money and coauthor of The Politics of Property Rights, Mexico since 1980, and The Big Ditch (Princeton).

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