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Are Efficiency Improvements In Government Transfer Policies Self‐Defeating In Political Equilibrium?

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  • John Douglas Wilson

Abstract

This paper studies an election game between two politicians, in which each provides income transfers to special‐interest groups in return for political contributions. It is shown that a move to a more inefficient form of transfers may lower the total excess burden created by these transfers, because the politicians are induced to reduce their provision of transfers. For the case in which the income transfers are indirectly provided as trade protection to import‐competing industries, a switch from production subsidies to tariffs as the form of protection reduces the equilibrium level of excess burden and makes both politicians better off.

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  • John Douglas Wilson, 1990. "Are Efficiency Improvements In Government Transfer Policies Self‐Defeating In Political Equilibrium?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 241-258, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:2:y:1990:i:3:p:241-258
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0343.1990.tb00032.x
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    1. Magee,Stephen P. & Brock,William A. & Young,Leslie, 1989. "Black Hole Tariffs and Endogenous Policy Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521362474.
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    2. Walter Hettich & Stanley L. Winer, 2006. "Analyzing the Interdependence of Regulation and Taxation," Public Finance Review, , vol. 34(4), pages 355-380, July.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2011. "Emergence And Persistence Of Inefficient States," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 177-208, April.
    4. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    5. Crutzen, Benoît S.Y. & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2009. "Redistributive politics with distortionary taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 264-279, January.
    6. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2003. "Social Security, Retirement, and the Single-Mindedness of the Electorate," NBER Working Papers 9691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Scott Bradford, 2000. "Rents, Votes, and Protection: Explaining the Structure of Trade Barriers Across Industries," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1717, Econometric Society.
    8. Allan Drazen & Nuno Limão, 2008. "A Bargaining Theory Of Inefficient Redistribution Policies," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 621-657, May.
    9. Nuno Limão & Patricia Tovar, 2018. "Policy choice: Theory and evidence from commitment via international trade agreements," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Policy Externalities and International Trade Agreements, chapter 6, pages 179-198, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Daron Acemoglu, 2010. "Institutions, Factor Prices, and Taxation: Virtues of Strong States?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 115-119, May.
    11. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 2003. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 293-340, October.
    12. Amihai GLAZER & Stef PROOST, 2008. "Capital-intensive projects induce more effort than labor-intensive projects," Working Papers of Department of Economics, Leuven ces0831, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), Department of Economics, Leuven.
    13. Hadi Salehi Esfahani, 2001. "A Political Economy Model of Resource Pricing with Evidence from the Fuel Market," Working Papers 0134, Economic Research Forum, revised 11 Aug 2001.
    14. Fredriksson, Per G., 1998. "Environmental policy choice: Pollution abatement subsidies," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 51-63, March.
    15. Drazen, Allan & Limão, Nuno, 2003. "Government Gains from Self-Restraint: A Bargaining Theory of Inefficient Redistribution Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 4007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Pyne, Derek, 2006. "Microfoundations of Influencing Public Opinion: Lobbying and Voting for Trade Policies," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 21, pages 551-576.
    17. Acemoglu, Daron, 2003. "Why not a political Coase theorem? Social conflict, commitment, and politics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 620-652, December.
    18. Rodrik, Dani, 1994. "What does the Political Economy Literature on Trade Policy (Not) Tell Us That We Ought to Know?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1039, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Allan Drazen & Nuno Limão, 2004. "Government Gains from Self-Restraint: A Bargaining Theory of Inefficient Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 10375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Raymond Riezman & John Douglas Wilson, 2013. "Political Reform and Trade Policy," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Raymond Riezman (ed.), International Trade Agreements and Political Economy, chapter 13, pages 201-224, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    21. Willmann, Gerald, 2003. "Why Legislators are Protectionists: The Role of Majoritarian Voting in Setting Tariffs," Economics Working Papers 2003-10, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    22. Magee, Christopher, 2003. "Endogenous tariffs and trade adjustment assistance," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 203-222, May.

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