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Politics and Trade Policy

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  • Helpman, Elhanan

Abstract

The paper first describes a number of political economy approaches that have been developed to explain trade policies. All approaches are presented in a unified framework that helps to identify the key differences between them. These comparisons revolve around tariff formulas that are predicted by political equilibria. A typical formula explains cross-sectoral variations in rates of protection as well as differences in average rates of protection across countries. Second, I review a set of results that emerge from a new approach to the interaction of international economic relations with domestic politics. Importantly, there are two-way interactions in such systems. They link the formation of trade policies in the international arena with the activities of domestic special interest groups. The use of a framework of this sort is essential for a proper analysis of a host of important problems, such as negotiations about tariff levels or the formation of free trade areas. Recent studies have developed suitable tools for this purpose.

Suggested Citation

  • Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "Politics and Trade Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1269, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1269
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political Economy; Trade Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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