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Endogenous Lobby Formation and Endogenous Protection: A Long-Run Model of Trade Policy Determination

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  • Devashish Mitra

Abstract

This paper provides a theory of lobby formation within a framework in which trade policy is determined through political contributions. Under certain conditions, free trade turns out to be an equilibrium outcome either when the government has a high affinity for political contributions or when it cares a great deal about social welfare. Moreover, greater inequality in asset distribution results in a greater number of lobbies and, in most cases, more protection for each of these lobbies. Furthermore, industries with higher levels of capital stock, fewer capitalists, more inelastic demand, and smaller geographical dispersion are the ones that get organized.

Suggested Citation

  • Devashish Mitra, 1999. "Endogenous Lobby Formation and Endogenous Protection: A Long-Run Model of Trade Policy Determination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1116-1134, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:89:y:1999:i:5:p:1116-1134
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.89.5.1116
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Elhanan Helpman, 1995. "Politics and Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 5309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    3. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    4. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
    5. 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.
    6. Avinash Dixit, 1996. "Special-Interest Lobbying and Endogenous Commodity Taxation," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 375-388, Fall.
    7. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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