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Access to Protection: Domestic Institutions and Trade Policy in Democracies


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  • Ehrlich, Sean D.
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    Previous institutional explanations of trade policy have focused on the role of proportional representation on the promotion of free trade. This explanation generates numerous unsolved anomalies and provides limited guidance in explaining the difference between proportional representation countries and between majoritarian countries as well as within-country variation in trade policy. This article introduces a more general institutional theory that argues that the number of access points provided by institutions is the crucial institutional feature, as increasing the number of access points makes lobbying less costly, which benefits protectionists. From this, I hypothesize that the number of parties in government, the number of electoral districts, the nature of the vote, and other such institutions affect the level of protection and that, once these factors are controlled for, proportional representation has no impact on trade policy. I test this theory on tariff data in the post World War II developed democracies and find broad support for these hypotheses.This article was previously presented at the 2004 Annual Meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association. I would like to thank Alan Deardorff, Rob Franzese, Matt Golder, Mike Hanmer, Jude Hays, Cherie Maestas, Corrine McConnaughy, Will Moore, James D. Morrow, Won-Ho Park, and Jeff Staton for advice and comments and Yoshi Ono for excellent research assistance. All errors, of course, remain my own.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal International Organization.

    Volume (Year): 61 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 03 (July)
    Pages: 571-605

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:61:y:2007:i:03:p:571-605_07

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    Cited by:
    1. Natália Barbosa & Maria Helena Guimarães & Ana Paula Faria, 2013. "Single Market non-compliance: how relevant is the institutional setting?," NIPE Working Papers 06/2013, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    2. Jäkel, Ina C. & Smolka, Marcel, 2011. "Individual attitudes towards trade: Stolper-Samuelson revisited," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 11, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
    3. Nikolaos Zahariadis, 2013. "Winners and Losers in EU State Aid Policy," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 143-158, March.
    4. Leonardo Baccini & Soo Kim, 2012. "Preventing protectionism: International institutions and trade policy," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 369-398, December.
    5. Charles R. Hankla, 2013. "Fragmented Legislatures and the Budget: Analyzing Presidential Democracies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 200-228, 07.


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