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Foreign influence and welfare

  • Antràs, Pol
  • Padró i Miquel, Gerard

How do foreign interests influence policy? How are trade policies and the viability of trade agreements affected? What are the welfare implications of such foreign influence? In this paper we develop a model of foreign influence and apply it to the study of optimal tariffs. In a two-country voting model of electoral competition, we allow the incumbent party in each country to take costly actions that probabilistically affect the electoral outcome in the other country. We show that policies end up maximizing a weighted sum of domestic and foreign welfare. Using this formulation we show that foreign influence increases aggregate world welfare when there are no other means of alleviating the externalities that arise from cross-border effects of policies. In contrast, when countries can engage in international agreements, foreign influence can prove harmful as powerful countries may refuse to offer concessions. We also show that power imbalances are particularly detrimental to cooperation when they are positively correlated with economic size.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 84 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 135-148

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:84:y:2011:i:2:p:135-148
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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  1. Aidt, T.S. & Hwang, U., 2008. "One Cheer for Foreign Lobbying," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0860, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  2. Giovanni Maggi & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2007. "A Political-Economy Theory of Trade Agreements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1374-1406, September.
  3. Christian Broda & Nuno Limao & David E. Weinstein, 2008. "Optimal Tariffs and Market Power: The Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2032-65, December.
  4. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 752-69, August.
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  6. Putnam, Robert D., 1988. "Diplomacy and domestic politics: the logic of two-level games," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(03), pages 427-460, June.
  7. Guriev, Sergei & Yakovlev, Evgeny & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2010. "Interest group politics in a federation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 730-748, October.
  8. Kishore Gawande & Pravin Krishna & Michael J. Robbins, 2004. "Foreign Lobbies and US Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 10205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Toke S. Aidt & Uk Hwang, 2008. "On the Internalization of Cross-National Externalities through Political Markets: The Case of Labour Standards," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(3), pages 509-533, September.
  10. 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.
  11. Daniel Berger & William Easterly & Nathan Nunn & Shanker Satyanath, 2013. "Commercial Imperialism? Political Influence and Trade during the Cold War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 863-96, April.
  12. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1993. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks," NBER Working Papers 4280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Alesina, Alberto & Dollar, David, 2000. " Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 33-63, March.
  14. Bond, Eric W & Park, Jee-Hyeong, 2002. "Gradualism in Trade Agreements with Asymmetric Countries," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 379-406, April.
  15. Christian Broda & N. Limao & D. Weinstein, 2006. "Optimal Tariffs: The Evidence," 2006 Meeting Papers 381, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. Paola Conconi, 2003. "Green Lobbies and Transboundary Pollution in Large Open Economies," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5837, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  17. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  18. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-50, September.
  19. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  20. repec:ags:afjare:141665 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Ilyana Kuziemko & Eric Werker, 2006. "How Much Is a Seat on the Security Council Worth? Foreign Aid and Bribery at the United Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 905-930, October.
  22. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 265-86, April.
  23. Axel Dreher & Nathan Jensen, 2005. "Independent Actor or Agent? An Empirical Analysis of the impact of US interests on IMF Conditions," KOF Working papers 05-118, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  24. Hillman, Arye L & Ursprung, Heinrich W, 1988. "Domestic Politics, Foreign Interests, and International Trade Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 719-45, September.
  25. Avinash Dixit & John Londregan, 1998. "Ideology, Tactics, And Efficiency In Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 497-529, May.
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