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Social Conflict and the Stolper-Samuelson Theorem

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Author Info

  • Benjamin Zissimos

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Bath)

Abstract

This paper presents a new theory of trade policy-making based on the possibility of social conflict, and determines the conditions under which it will apply. In a setting where property rights are poorly enforced, the paper shows that the Stolper-Samuelson theorem embodies a set of sufficient conditions for a revolution to occur. By pinpointing a conflict of interest between the ruling elite and workers over trade policy, the theorem implies that workers may have an incentive to mount a revolution. However, this also implies that the elite can use trade policy to make concessions to the workers and hence avert a revolution. In an extended framework, a set of sufficient conditions for revolution to occur are provided even when the Stolper-Samuelson theorem fails to hold. Among other uses, the new theory presents a resolution to the long-standing puzzle over why Britain repealed the Corn Laws.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu11-w09.pdf
File Function: First version, August 2011
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 1109.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:1109

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Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

Related research

Keywords: Protectionism; social conflict; Stolper-Samuelson; trade policy; unilateral trade liberalization;

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  1. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, December.
  2. Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey, 2006. "From the Corn Laws to Free Trade: Interests, Ideas, and Institutions in Historical Perspective," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262195437, December.
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