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Lobbying costs and trade policy

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  • Tovar, Patricia

Abstract

We study how endogenous lobbying costs influence trade policies. Although in practice lobbying expenditures far exceed campaign contributions, the literature on the political economy of trade policy has focused on the latter. In this paper we develop a model in which informational lobbying costs play a role in determining the structure of protection. In the model, special interest groups can choose to send a signal to the policymaker regarding some information they possess, and the policymaker observes the signal before setting the trade policies. We find that lobbying expenditures directly affect the equilibrium policies. In order to test the predictions of the model we collected data on lobbying expenditures from the Center for Responsible Politics as well as data on trade and industry characteristic variables for the United States from other sources. We perform a structural estimation of the equilibrium trade policies and find support for our model. The empirical evidence indicates that lobbying expenditures play an important role in explaining the variation of protection across sectors. Moreover, the model leads to considerably lower and more reasonable estimates of the weight that the government places on social welfare relative to political contributions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 83 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 126-136

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:83:y:2011:i:2:p:126-136

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

Related research

Keywords: Trade policy Protection Lobbies Lobbying expenditures;

References

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  1. Kishore Gawande & Usree Bandyopadhyay, 2000. "Is Protection for Sale? Evidence on the Grossman-Helpman Theory of Endogenous Protection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 139-152, February.
  2. Bennedsen, Morten & Feldmann, Sven E., 2000. "Lobbying Legislatures," Working Papers 07-2000, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
  3. Kee, Hiau Looi & Nicita, Alessandro & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2004. "Import Demand Elasticities and Trade Distortions," CEPR Discussion Papers 4669, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-50, September.
  5. Kee, Hiau Looi & Nicita, Alessandro & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2006. "Estimating Trade Restrictiveness Indices," CEPR Discussion Papers 5576, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Susumu Imai & Hajime Katayama & Kala Krishna, 2006. "Protection for Sale or Surge Protection?," NBER Working Papers 12258, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Potters, J.J.M. & Winden, F. van, 1992. "Lobbying and asymmetric information," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-223989, Tilburg University.
  8. Tripathi Micky & Ansolabehere Stephen & Jr James M. Snyder, 2002. "Are PAC Contributions and Lobbying Linked? New Evidence from the 1995 Lobby Disclosure Act," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-26, August.
  9. Ellen Brock & Sabien Dobbelaere, 2003. "Has International Trade Affected Workers?Bargaining Power?," LICOS Discussion Papers 13603, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  10. Giovanni Maggi & Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, 1999. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1135-1155, December.
  11. Devashish Mitra & Dimitrios D. Thomakos & Mehmet A. Ulubaşoglu, 2002. ""Protection For Sale" In A Developing Country: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 497-508, August.
  12. Michel Dumont & Glenn Rayp & Peter Willemé, 2006. "Does internationalization affect union bargaining power? An empirical study for five EU countries," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 77-102, January.
  13. Gawande, Kishore, 1997. "Generated regressors in linear and nonlinear models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 119-126, February.
  14. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "Trade Liberalization and the Theory of Endogenous Protection: An Econometric Study of U.S. Import Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 138-60, February.
  15. Doiron, Denise J, 1992. "Bargaining Power and Wage-Employment Contracts in a Unionized Industry," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(3), pages 583-606, August.
  16. John M. de Figueiredo & Charles M. Cameron, 2006. "Endogenous Cost Lobbying: Theory and Evidence," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d05-156, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  17. Veugelers, Reinhilde, 1989. "Wage premia, price-cost margins and bargaining power in Belgian manufacturing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 169-180, January.
  18. Milyo Jeffrey, 2002. "Bribes and Fruit Baskets: What Does the Link Between PAC Contributions and Lobbying Mean?," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-4, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Martin Gregor, 2011. "Corporate lobbying: A review of the recent literature," Working Papers IES 2011/32, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Nov 2011.
  2. Shih-shen Chen & Chu-Chuan Hsu & Chin-shu Huang, 2013. "Lobbying, corruption and “optimal” tariff," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 60(4), pages 375-386, December.

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