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Trade-Induced Unemployment: How Much Do We Care?

  • Yoto V. Yotov

It is a common perception that a government, especially in the face of elections, is particularly sensitive to the presence of trade-induced unemployment. In this paper, I ask: how much weight does the incumbent politician actually attach to unemployment resulting from trade? To answer, I build a model that captures government's sympathy to trade-affected workers and allows me to decompose the channels through which trade-induced unemployment affects the level of sectoral protection chosen by a politically-driven incumbent official. I provide empirical evidence that the US government is very sensitive to the presence and the magnitude of trade-induced unemployment. Specifically, I estimate the weight that the office holder attaches to the welfare of trade-affected workers to be positive, significant, and four times larger than the weight on the welfare of those who are not affected by trade. Copyright � 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
Pages: 972-989

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Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:18:y:2010:i:5:p:972-989
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  1. Susumu Imai & Hajime Katayama & Kala Krishna, 2006. "Protection for Sale or Surge Protection?," Working Papers 1114, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
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  5. Matschke Xenia, 2010. "Do Labor Market Imperfections Increase Trade Protection? A Theoretical Investigation," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-36, June.
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  8. Rigoberto A. Lopez & Xenia Matschke, 2006. "Food Protection for Sale," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 380-391, 08.
  9. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldbe & Giovanni Maggi, 1997. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 5942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Gawande, Kishore, 1997. "Generated regressors in linear and nonlinear models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 119-126, February.
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  13. 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.
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