Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kuehl, Colin

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


This thesis investigates Dani Rodrik’s “Impossibility Trilemma,” which postulates that policymakers must make a trade-off between globalization, democracy, and national sovereignty. That is, states can combine any two of these three policy orientations, but can never have all three simultaneously or in full. If correct, states who pursue all three policy objectives leave their fate, and that of the global economy, in a volatile disequilibrium. Compiling data on 169 countries spanning the period 1998-2017, this thesis empirically tests the “Impossibility Trilemma” using a time-series multivariate regression analysis and finds inconclusive evidence in support of Rodrik’s proposed theory. Specifically, it does not find any consistent statistically significant support for any of the trilemma hypotheses. These results holds across various model specifications and distinctions.


61 pages




Northern Illinois University

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