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Commercial Policy with Altruistic Voters

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  • Julio J. Rotemberg

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio J. Rotemberg, 2003. "Commercial Policy with Altruistic Voters," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 174-201, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:111:y:2003:i:1:p:174-201
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard E. Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2007. "Entry and Asymmetric Lobbying: Why Governments Pick Losers," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 1064-1093, September.
    2. J. Ernesto Lopez-Cordova & Christopher M. Meissner, 2005. "The Globalization of Trade and Democracy, 1870-2000," NBER Working Papers 11117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ana I. Balsa & Michael T. French & Tracy L. Regan, 2012. "Relative Deprivation and Risky Behaviors," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1203, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    4. Rafael Tella & Juan Dubra, 2014. "Anger and Regulation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(3), pages 734-765, July.
    5. Christopher M. Meissner & Jose Ernesto Lopez Cordova, 2005. "Globalization and Democracy, 1870-2000," 2005 Meeting Papers 112, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Bougheas, Spiros & Nelson, Doug, 2013. "On the political economy of high skilled migration and international trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 206-224.
    7. De Figueiredo, John M. & Silverman, Brian S., 2002. "Academic Earmarks and the Returns to Lobbying," Working papers 4245-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    8. 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.
    9. John M. de Figueiredo & Brian Kelleher Richter, 2013. "Advancing the Empirical Research on Lobbying," NBER Working Papers 19698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Glazer, Amihai & Ranjan, Priya, 2007. "Trade protection to reduce redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 790-805, September.
    11. Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra & Robert MacCulloch, 2008. "A Resource Belief-Curse? Oil and Individualism," NBER Working Papers 14556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ernesto Dal Bó & Pedro Dal Bó & Rafael Di Tella, 2002. "'Plata o Plomo': Bribe and Punishment in a Theory of Political Influence," Working Papers 2002-28, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    13. Limao, Nuno & Panagariya, Arvind, 2007. "Inequality and endogenous trade policy outcomes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 292-309, July.
    14. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2007. "Altruism and the Child-Cycle of Alumni Giving," NBER Working Papers 13152, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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