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Commercial Policy with Altruistic Voters

  • Julio J. Rotemberg

In public discussions of policy, evidence that import-competing sectors earn low or falling incomes is often used to argue for protection. This paper rationalizes the apparent effectiveness of this argument in both direct and indirect democracies. In direct democracies, a small degree of voter altruism leads to protection in the specific factors model when the import-competing sector earns little. Similarly, voter altruism creates an incentive in representative democracies for self-interested parties to present evidence to legislators on the income of import-competing factors. This leads to a theory in which campaign contributions buy access to legislators rather than buy votes.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 111 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 174-201

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:111:y:2003:i:1:p:174-201
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  1. 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.
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