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Democracy and Protectionism


  • O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj
  • Taylor, Alan M.


Does democracy encourage free trade? It depends. Broadening the franchise involves transferring power from non-elected elites to the wider population, most of whom will be workers. The Hecksher-Ohlin-Stolper-Samuelson logic says that democratization should lead to more liberal trade policies in countries where workers stand to gain from free trade; and to more protectionist policies in countries where workers will benefit from the imposition of tariffs and quotas. We test and confirm these political economy implications of trade theory hypothesis using data on democracy, factor endowments, and protection in the late nineteenth century.

Suggested Citation

  • O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj & Taylor, Alan M., 2006. "Democracy and Protectionism," CEPR Discussion Papers 5698, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5698

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    factor endowments; Heckscher-Ohlin trade theory; Stolper-Samuelson theorem; tariffs;

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative

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