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Entry and asymmetric lobbying: why governments pick losers

  • Richard E. Baldwin
  • Frédéric Robert-Nicoud

Governments frequently intervene to support domestic industries, but a surprising amount of this support goes to ailing sectors. We explain this with a lobbying model that allows for entry and sunk costs. Specifically, policy is influenced by pressure groups that incur lobbying expenses to create rents. In expanding industries, entry tends to erode such rents, but in declining industries, sunk costs rule out entry as long as the rents are not too high. This asymmetric appropriability of rents means losers lobby harder. Thus it is not that government policy picks losers, it is that losers pick government policy.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19726/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 19726.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19726
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
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Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  1. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1992. "Protection For Sale," NBER Working Papers 4149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stephen Coate & Stephen Morris, . ""Policy Persistence ''," CARESS Working Papres 95-19, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  3. Bohara, Alok K & Kaempfer, William H, 1991. "A Test of Tariff Endogeneity in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 952-60, September.
  4. Nicolas Marceau & Michael Smart, 2003. "Corporate Lobbying and Commitment Failure in Capital Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 241-251, March.
  5. Baldwin, Richard, 1988. "Hyteresis in Import Prices: The Beachhead Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 773-85, September.
  6. Felli, L. & Merlo, A., 2000. "Endogenous Lobbying," Working Papers 00-04, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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  8. Kishore Gawande & Usree Bandyopadhyay, 2000. "Is Protection for Sale? Evidence on the Grossman-Helpman Theory of Endogenous Protection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 139-152, February.
  9. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 752-69, August.
  10. Anne O. Krueger, 1989. "Asymmetries in Policy Between Exportables and Import-Competing Goods," NBER Working Papers 2904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1987. "Perfect Equilibria in a Trade Liberalization Game," Discussion Papers 738, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
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  17. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
  18. Richard E. Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2007. "Protection for sale made easy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19713, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  19. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  20. repec:ags:afjare:141665 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Robert E. Baldwin, 1982. "The Political Economy of Protectionism," NBER Chapters, in: Import Competition and Response, pages 263-292 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. 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.
  23. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "Trade Liberalization and the Theory of Endogenous Protection: An Econometric Study of U.S. Import Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 138-60, February.
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  25. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Political economy of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1494 Elsevier.
  26. S. Lael Brainard & Thierry Verdier, 1993. "The Political Economy of Declining Industries: Senescent Industry Collapse Revisited," NBER Working Papers 4606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  30. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Rent dissipation, free riding, and trade policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 795-803, April.
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