Trade Policy and Antitrust: Do Consumers Matter to Legislators?
We provide one of the first efforts to measure the importance of consumer preferences in legislators’ trade policy decisions by estimating the degree to which the level of antitrust enforcement in the legislator’s state impacts his or her vote on free trade agreements. To the extent that antitrust and trade liberalization are both viewed as proconsumer in nature, we would expect to see a positive relationship between antitrust enforcement in their legislative district and Congressional votes in support of trade liberalization. We find evidence suggesting that consumer preferences do play a role in legislative decisions on trade policy.
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