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Neo-Protectionism and the European Lobbies


  • Marianna Belloc


This paper empirically explores the connection between two recent phenomena in the European scenario: the dramatic upsurge of non-tariff trade measures and the remarkable rise in the role of European business lobbies. While these two facts have been widely recognized by the international trade and the political economy literature, empirical investigation into the connection between the two has so far been impeded by the lack of data. To identify European special interest groups and their influence on policy decisions, we construct an original dataset by collecting information on the participation of national and international organizations in the European Commission consultations on trade issues and by merging it with newly released information on non-tariff measures aggregated at the tariff-line level. Drawing upon the panel structure of the dataset, we find that European lobbies exert an important influence on the policy-makers, even after controlling for product fixed effects and a number of product and industrial variables. Between two possible interpretations of this finding, either that participation in meetings captures political pressure (possibly including the supply of biased information) on policy-decisions or that it involves, rather, transmission of true information, our empirical results tend to favor the former. Nonetheless, we are inclined to rule out the possibility that registration in consultations is in itself just signaling for active involvement in lobbying action, since we find evidence that actual meeting attendance has a larger impact on policy decision than registration only.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianna Belloc, 2014. "Neo-Protectionism and the European Lobbies," CESifo Working Paper Series 4832, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4832

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    2. Imai, Susumu & Katayama, Hajime & Krishna, Kala, 2009. "Protection for sale or surge protection?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(6), pages 675-688, August.
    3. Kee, Hiau Looi & Olarreaga, Marcelo & Silva, Peri, 2007. "Market access for sale," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 79-94, January.
    4. 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.
    5. Kishore Gawande, 1998. "Comparing Theories Of Endogenous Protection: Bayesian Comparison Of Tobit Models Using Gibbs Sampling Output," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 128-140, February.
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    More about this item


    trade policy; neo-protectionism; European Union; lobbying; political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior


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