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Do Labor Issues Matter in the Determination of U.S. Trade Policy? An Empirical Reevaluation

  • Xenia Matschke
  • Shane M. Sherlund

Some recent empirical studies, motivated by Grossman and Helpman's (1994) "protection-for-sale" model, suggest that very few factors (none of them labor related) determine trade protection. This paper reexamines the roles that labor issues play in the determination of trade policy. We introduce collective bargaining, differences in inter industry labor mobility, and trade union lobbying into the protection-for-sale model, and show that the equilibrium protection rate in our model depends upon these labor market variables. We test our model predictions using data from U.S. manufacturing and find that labor market considerations do seem to matter for U.S. trade policy.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 96 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 405-421

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:1:p:405-421
Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282806776157524
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  1. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-50, September.
  2. Gawande, Kishore, 1997. "Generated regressors in linear and nonlinear models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 119-126, February.
  3. Clinton Shiells & Robert Stern & Alan Deardorff, 1989. "Estimates of the elasticities of substitution between imports and home goods for the United States: Reply," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 371-374, June.
  4. Matschke, Xenia N., 2004. "Labor Market Rigidities And The Political Economy Of Trade Protection," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2274x2pn, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  5. Giovanni Maggi & Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, 1999. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1135-1155, December.
  6. Smith, Richard J & Blundell, Richard W, 1986. "An Exogeneity Test for a Simultaneous Equation Tobit Model with an Application to Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 679-85, May.
  7. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1979. "The Estimation of a Simultaneous-Equation Tobit Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(1), pages 169-81, February.
  8. Robert E. Baldwin & Christopher S. Magee, 1998. "Is Trade Policy for Sale? Congressional Voting on Recent Trade Bills," NBER Working Papers 6376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. MaCurdy, Thomas E & Pencavel, John H, 1986. "Testing between Competing Models of Wage and Employment Determination in Unionized Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S3-S39, June.
  10. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
  11. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, August.
  12. Theo Eicher & Thomas Osang, 2002. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1702-1710, December.
  13. Maggi, Giovanni & Rodriguez-Clare, Andres, 2000. "Import penetration and the politics of trade protection," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 287-304, August.
  14. Gaston, Noel & Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "Union wage sensitivity to trade and protection: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 1-25, August.
  15. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  16. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Political economy of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1494 Elsevier.
  17. Kishore Gawande & Usree Bandyopadhyay, 2000. "Is Protection for Sale? Evidence on the Grossman-Helpman Theory of Endogenous Protection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 139-152, February.
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