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Competition and political organization: Together or alone in lobbying for trade policy?

  • Bombardini, Matilde
  • Trebbi, Francesco

This paper employs a novel data set on lobbying expenditures to measure the degree of within-sector political organization and to explore the determinants of the mode of lobbying and political organization across U.S. industries. The data show that sectors characterized by a higher degree of competition tend to lobby more together (through a sector-wide trade association), while sectors with higher concentration and more differentiated products lobby more individually. The paper proposes a theoretical model to interpret the empirical evidence. In an oligopolistic market, firms can benefit from an increase in their product-specific protection measure, if they can raise prices and profits. They find it less profitable to do so in a competitive market where attempts to raise prices are more likely to reduce profits. In competitive markets firms are therefore more likely to lobby together, thereby simultaneously raising tariffs on all products in the sector.

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

Volume (Year): 87 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 18-26

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:87:y:2012:i:1:p:18-26
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Elhanan Helpman & Torsten Persson, 1998. "Lobbying and Legistlative Bargaining," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1837, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Andrew Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter Schott, 2003. "Survival of the best fit: exposure to low-wage countries and the (uneven) growth of US manufacturing plants," IFS Working Papers W03/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," NBER Working Papers 10314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Felli, Leonardo & Merlo, Antonio, 2002. "Endogenous Lobbying," CEPR Discussion Papers 3174, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Pecorino, Paul, 2001. " Market Structure, Tariff Lobbying and the Free-Rider Problem," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 106(3-4), pages 203-20, March.
  6. Robert C. Feenstra & John Romalis & Peter K. Schott, 2002. "U.S. Imports, Exports, and Tariff Data, 1989-2001," NBER Working Papers 9387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hillman, Arye L. & Van Long, Ngo & Soubeyran, Antoine, 2001. "Protection, lobbying, and market structure," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 383-409, August.
  8. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 162, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  9. Martimort, David & Stole, Lars, 1999. "Contractual Externalities and Common Agency Equilibria," IDEI Working Papers 110, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 2003.
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  11. 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.
  12. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Development Working Papers 201, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  13. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldbe & Giovanni Maggi, 1997. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 5942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Hillman, Arye L, 1982. "Declining Industries and Political-Support Protectionist Motives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1180-87, December.
  15. Facchini, Giovanni & Mayda, Anna Maria & Mishra, Prachi, 2011. "Do interest groups affect US immigration policy?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 114-128, September.
  16. Marianne Bertrand & Matilde Bombardini & Francesco Trebbi, 2014. "Is It Whom You Know or What You Know? An Empirical Assessment of the Lobbying Process," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(12), pages 3885-3920, December.
  17. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 1992. " Lobbying and Asymmetric Information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 269-92, October.
  18. OTTAVIANO, Gianmarco & TABUCHI , Takatoshi & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Agglomeration and trade revisited," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1553, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  19. Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph, 1996. "Interest groups: A survey of empirical models that try to assess their influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 403-442, November.
  20. Prachi Mishra & Rodney D. Ludema & Anna Maria Mayda, 2010. "Protection for Free? the Political Economy of U.S. Tariff suspensions," IMF Working Papers 10/211, International Monetary Fund.
  21. Stephen Ansolabehere & John M. de Figueiredo & James M. Snyder Jr, 2003. "Why is There so Little Money in U.S. Politics?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 105-130, Winter.
  22. William R. Hauk Jr, 2011. "Protection with many sellers: An Application to Legislatures with Malapportionment," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 313-344, November.
  23. Kishore Gawande & Usree Bandyopadhyay, 2000. "Is Protection for Sale? Evidence on the Grossman-Helpman Theory of Endogenous Protection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 139-152, February.
  24. Gawande, Kishore, 1997. "US non-tariff barriers as privately provided public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 61-81, April.
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  26. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-223989 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. John M. de Figueiredo & Brian S. Silverman, 2002. "Academic Earmarks and the Returns to Lobbying," NBER Working Papers 9064, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Tripathi Micky & Ansolabehere Stephen & Jr James M. Snyder, 2002. "Are PAC Contributions and Lobbying Linked? New Evidence from the 1995 Lobby Disclosure Act," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-26, August.
  29. de Figueiredo, John M & Silverman, Brian S, 2006. "Academic Earmarks and the Returns to Lobbying," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 597-625, October.
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  31. Bombardini, Matilde, 2008. "Firm heterogeneity and lobby participation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 329-348, July.
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  33. Matilde Bombardini & Francesco Trebbi, 2009. "Competition and Political Organization: Together or Alone in Lobbying for Trade Policy?," NBER Working Papers 14771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
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