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The Political Economy of Declining Industries: Senescent Industry Collapse Revisited

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  • S. Lael Brainard
  • Thierry Verdier

Abstract

One of the most robust empirical regularities in the political economy of trade is the persistence of protection. This paper explains persistent protection in terms of the interaction between industry adjustment, lobbying, and the political response. Faced with a trade shock, owners of industry-specific factors can undertake costly adjustment, or they can lobby politicians for protection and thereby mitigate the need for adjustment. The choice depends on the returns from adjusting relative to lobbying. By introducing an explicit lobbying process, it can be shown that the level of tariffs is an increasing function of past tariffs. Since current adjustment diminishes future lobbying intensity, and protection reduces adjustment, current protection raises future protection. This simple lobbying feedback effect has an important dynamic resource allocation effect: declining industries contract more slowly over time and never fully adjust. In addition, the model makes clear that the type of collapse predicted by Cassing and Hillman (1986) is only possible under special conditions, such as a fixed cost to lobbying. The paper also considers the symmetric case of lobbying in growing industries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4606.

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Date of creation: Dec 1993
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Publication status: published as Brainard, S. Lael and Thierry Verdier. "The Political Economy Of Declining Industries: Senescent Industry Collapse Revisited," Journal of International Economics, 1997, v42(1,Feb), 221-238.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4606

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  1. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Van Long, Ngo & Vousden, Neil, 1991. "Protectionist responses and declining industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 87-103, February.
  3. Marvel, Howard P & Ray, Edward J, 1983. "The Kennedy Round: Evidence on the Regulation of International Trade in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 190-97, March.
  4. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1990. "Perfect Equilibria in a Trade Liberalization Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 480-92, June.
  5. Pugel, Thomas A & Walter, Ingo, 1985. "U.S. Corporate Interests and the Political Economy of Trade Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 465-73, August.
  6. Hillman, Arye L, 1982. "Declining Industries and Political-Support Protectionist Motives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1180-87, December.
  7. Brainard, S. Lael & Verdier, Thierry, 1997. "The political economy of declining industries: Senescent industry collapse revisited," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 221-237, February.
  8. Brainard, S Lael, 1994. "Last One Out Wins: Trade Policy in an International Exit Game," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(1), pages 151-72, February.
  9. Colin Lawrence & Robert Z. Lawrence, 1985. "Manufacturing Wage Dispersion: An End Game Interpretation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(1), pages 47-116.
  10. Braillard, S. Lael & Verdier, Thierry, 1994. "Lobbying and adjustment in declining industries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 586-595, April.
  11. Cassing, James H & Hillman, Arye L, 1986. "Shifting Comparative Advantage and Senescent Industry Collapse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 516-23, June.
  12. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1984. "Endogenous Tariff Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 970-85, December.
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