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A Protectionist Bias in Majoritarian Politics

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  • Grossman, Gene
  • Helpman, Elhanan

Abstract

We develop a novel model of campaigns, elections, and policymaking in which the ex ante objectives of national party leaders differ from the ex post objectives of elected legislators. This generates a distinction between "policy rhetoric" and "policy reality" and introduces an important role for "party discipline" in the policymaking process. We identify a protectionist bias in majoritarian politics. When trade policy is chosen by the majority delegation and legislators in the minority have limited means to influence choices, the parties announce trade policies that favor specific factors, and the expected tariff or export subsidy is positive. Positions and expected outcomes monotonically approach free trade as party discipline strengthens.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5238.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5238

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Keywords: comparative politics; party discipline; Trade policy; tyranny of the majority;

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References

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  1. Willmann, Gerald, 2003. "Why Legislators are Protectionists: the Role of Majoritarian Voting in Setting Tariffs," Economics Working Papers 2003,10, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  2. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Working Papers 114, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  3. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  4. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2005. "Party Discipline and Pork-Barrel Politics," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2075, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Roberto Perotti & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Electoral Systems And Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 609-657, May.
  6. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  7. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  8. Avinash Dixit & Gene M. Grossman & Faruk Gul, 2000. "The Dynamics of Political Compromise," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 531-568, June.
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