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Policymakers’ Horizon and Trade Reforms

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Author Info

  • Paola Conconi

    ()
    (Université Libre de Bruxelles (ECARES) and CEPR)

  • Giovanni Facchini

    (Erasmus University, University of Milan, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, CEPR and CES-Ifo)

  • Maurizio Zanardi

    (Université Libre de Bruxelles (ECARES))

Abstract

Does policymakers\' horizon affect their willingness to support economic reforms? Voting in the U.S. Congress provides an ideal setting to address this question. Differences between the House and Senate, in which members serve two-year and six-year mandates respectively, allow to examine the role of term length; the staggered structure of the Senate allows to compare the behavior of different \"generations\" of senators and study the impact of election proximity. Considering all major trade liberalization reforms undertaken by the U.S. since the early 1970\'s, we find that Senate members are more likely to support them than House members. However, inter-cameral differences disappear for third-generation senators, who face re-election at the same time as House members. Considering Senate votes alone, we find that the last generation is more protectionist than the previous two and this result holds both when comparing different senators voting on the same bill, as well as individual senators voting on different bills. Inter-generational differences disappear instead for senators who hold safe seats or have announced their retirement, indicating that the protectionist effect of election proximity is driven by legislators\' fear of losing office.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano in its series Development Working Papers with number 311.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: 06 Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:311

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Keywords: Term Length; Election Proximity; Trade Reforms;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Steinhardt, Max & Conconi, Paola & Facchini, Giovanni & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2013. "The political economy of trade and migration:Evidence from the U.S. Congress," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79961, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. Alessandra Bonfiglioli & Gino Gancia, 2013. "Uncertainty, Electoral Incentives and Political Myopia," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 373-400, 05.
  3. Anderson, Kym & Rausser, Gordon & Swinnen, Johan, 2012. "Political Economy of Public Policies: Insights from Distortions to Agricultural and Food Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 9221, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Bonfiglioli, Alessandra & Gancia, Gino A, 2011. "The Political Cost of Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 8421, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Florian Mölders, 2012. "On the Path to Trade Liberalization: Political Regimes in International Trade Negotiations," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1245, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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