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A swing state theory of trade protection in the Electoral College

  • Mirabelle Muûls
  • Dimitra Petropoulou

This paper analyzes trade policy determination in the Electoral College in the presence of swing voters. It determines the circumstances under which incumbent politicians have an incentive to build a reputation for protectionism, thus swaying voting decisions and improving their reelection probability. Strategic trade protection is shown to be more likely when protectionist swing voters have a lead over free trade supporters in states with relatively strong electoral competition and in states representing a larger proportion of Electoral College votes. An empirical test using a measure of industrial concentration in swing and decisive U.S. states lends support to the theoretical findings.

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Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 46 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 705-724

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:46:y:2013:i:2:p:705-724
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