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Why Small Groups And Low Income Sectors Obtain Subsidies: The "Altruistic" Side Of A "Self-Interested" Government

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  • JOHAN F. M. SWINNEN
  • HARRY GORTER

Abstract

We develop a model of political support seeking politicians and support supplying voters. Based on Downs' original formulation, the framework yields endogenous political weights with both liberal and conservative properties. Our model reconciles the apparent contradiction between models of self-interested politicians and of governments motivated by social concerns. We show that the "altruistic" aspect of government behavior is consistent with its "self-interested" behavior. We determine that the Olson-Becker pressure group model is not unique. An increase in deadweight costs reduces the equilibrium subsidy. Smaller groups receive a larger per capita subsidy. These results are consistent with Becker's model. Copyright 1993 Blackwell Publishers Ltd..

Suggested Citation

  • Johan F. M. Swinnen & Harry Gorter, 1993. "Why Small Groups And Low Income Sectors Obtain Subsidies: The "Altruistic" Side Of A "Self-Interested" Government," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(3), pages 285-293, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:5:y:1993:i:3:p:285-293
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    2. Swinnen, Johan F.M., 1992. "A Theory of Competition Between Politicians for Political Support," Working Papers 128094, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
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    Cited by:

    1. de Gorter, Harry, 2008. "Explaining Inefficient Policy Instruments," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48638, World Bank.
    2. De Gorter, Harry & Swinnen, Jo, 1995. "The Political Economy and Institutional Determinants of Public Policy in Agriculture," 1994 Conference, August 22-29, 1994, Harare, Zimbabwe 183390, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Bellemare, Marc F. & Carnes, Nicholas, 2015. "Why do members of congress support agricultural protection?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 20-34.
    4. Kreins, Peter & Gömann, Horst & Witzke, Peter, 2005. "Erwartbare Konsequenzen einer Dezentralisierung im Bereich der Agrarpolitik," Forschungs- und Sitzungsberichte der ARL: Aufsätze,in: Das föderative System in Deutschland: Bestandsaufnahme, Reformbedarf und Handlungsempfehlungen aus raumwissenschaftlicher Sicht, pages 313-334 Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung (ARL) - Leibniz-Forum für Raumwissenschaften.
    5. Johan F.M.Swinnen & Alessandro Olper & Thijs Vandemoortele, 2011. "The Political Economy of Policy Instrument Choice: Theory and Evidence from Agricultural Policies," LICOS Discussion Papers 27911, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    6. Swinnen, Johan F.M. & Gorter, Harry de & Rausser, Gordon C. & Banerjee, Anurag N., 2000. "The political economy of public research investment and commodity policies in agriculture: an empirical study," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 22(2), March.
    7. Harry Gorter & Johan F. M. Swinnen, 1994. "The Economic Polity Of Farm Policy," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 312-326.
    8. Knops, Louise & van Herck, Kristine & Swinnen, Johan F. M., 2013. "Food Price Volatility and EU Policies," WIDER Working Paper Series 032, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Clas Eriksson, 2011. "Home bias in preferences and the political economics of agricultural protection," Review of Agricultural and Environmental Studies - Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement, INRA Department of Economics, vol. 92(1), pages 5-23.
    10. Pokrivcak, Jan & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2002. "Agenda Setting, Influence, And Voting Rules: The Influence Of The European Commission And Status Quo Bias In The Common Agricultural Policy Of The Eu," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19868, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    11. Andrea Guariso & Mara P. Squicciarini & Johan Swinnen, 2014. "Food Price Shocks and the Political Economy of Global Agricultural and Development Policy," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 36(3), pages 387-415.
    12. Swinnen, Johan F. M. & Banerjee, Anurag N. & Gorter, Harry de, 2001. "Economic development, institutional change, and the political economy of agricultural protection: An econometric study of Belgium since the 19th century," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 25-43, October.
    13. Harry Gorter & Jo Swinnen, 1995. "The Economic Polity Of Farm Policy: Reply," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 403-414.
    14. Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2008. "The Political Economy of Agricultural Protection: Europe in the 19th and 20th Century," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43859, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    15. Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2009. "Agricultural Protection Growth in Europe, 1870-1969," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 50296, World Bank.

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