Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science


Dr Adam Harmes


This dissertation examines the role that domestic institutions can play in the implementation of international intellectual property rights standards. In doing so, it argues that the path dependence of existing institutions can alter how international standards are actually implemented on the ground. It further argues that this altering of standards can create feedback effects that influence related state policies and the international standards themselves. This argument adds to the IPE literature on the creation of international intellectual property (IP) rights, which thus far, has tended to focus primarily on international-level negotiations rather than national-level implementation. It challenges the dominant 'market power' explanation that emphasizes the role of economic power in setting international regulatory standards. It does so by examining a critical case study of Canada and its implementation of trade-related intellectual property standards. Canada is a critical case due to its high trade dependence on the United States, which makes it 'least likely' to resist US market power. The dissertation shows how Canada has managed its adoption of trade-related IP standards through institutional layering and conversion strategies at various levels of governance. The analysis argues for, and significantly supports, the value of historical institutionalism in the study of international political economy.