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Loss aversion and trade policy

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  • Freund, Caroline
  • Ozden, Caglar

Abstract

This paper provides new survey evidence showing that loss aversion and reference dependence are important in shaping people's perception of trade policy. Under the assumption that agents'welfare functions exhibit these behavioral elements, we analyze a model with a welfare-maximizing government and with the lobbying framework of Grossman and Helpman (1994). The policy implications of the augmented models differ in three important ways. One, there is a region of compensating protection, where a decline in the world price leads to an offsetting increase in protection, such that a constant domestic price is maintained. Two, protection following a single negative price shock will be persistent. Three, irrespective of the extent of lobbying, there will be a deviation from free trade that tends to favor loss-making industries. The augmented models are more consistent with the observed structure of protection, and in particular, explain why many trade policy instruments are explicitly designed to maintain prices at a given level.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3385.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3385

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Keywords: Payment Systems&Infrastructure; Economic Theory&Research; Markets and Market Access; Environmental Economics&Policies; Insurance&Risk Mitigation; Economic Theory&Research; Environmental Economics&Policies; TF054105-DONOR FUNDED OPERATION ADMINISTRATION FEE INCOME AND EXPENSE ACCOUNT; Insurance&Risk Mitigation; Markets and Market Access;

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References

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  1. Mayda, Anna Maria & Rodrik, Dani, 2001. "Why are Some People (and Countries) More Protectionist than Others?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2960, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
  3. Levy, Philip I., 1999. "Lobbying and international cooperation in tariff setting," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 345-370, April.
  4. Jonathan Eaton & Gene M. Grossman, 1981. "Tariffs as Insurance: Optimal Commercial Policy When Domestic Markets Are Incomplete," NBER Working Papers 0797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Baldwin, Robert E, 1989. "The Political Economy of Trade Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 119-35, Fall.
  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. Scheve, Kenneth F. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2001. "What determines individual trade-policy preferences?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 267-292, August.
  8. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Political economy of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1494 Elsevier.
  9. Van Long, Ngo & Vousden, Neil, 1991. "Protectionist responses and declining industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 87-103, February.
  10. Cassing, James & To, Ted, 2008. "Antidumping, signaling and cheap talk," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 373-382, July.
  11. Ronald Findlay & Stanislaw Wellisz, 1982. "Endogenous Tariffs, the Political Economy of Trade Restrictions, and Welfare," NBER Chapters, in: Import Competition and Response, pages 223-244 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ronald D. Fischer & Thomas J. Prusa, 2003. "WTO Exceptions as Insurance," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(5), pages 745-757, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Tovar, Patricia, 2009. "The effects of loss aversion on trade policy: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 154-167, June.
  2. L'Haridon, Olivier & Malherbet, Franck, 2006. "Employment Protection Reform in Search Economies," IZA Discussion Papers 2304, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Kishore Gawande & Pravin Krishna & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2005. "Lobbying Competition Over Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 11371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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