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The Political Economy of Trade Policy in Tunisia

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  • Sonia Naccache

    () (Faculté des Sciences Économiques et de Gestion de Tunis.)

Abstract

Our paper proposes to establish the political economy determinants of cross-industry distribution of protection in Tunisia in the post-independence period. Instead of the lobbying hypothesis, we assume that the government was seeking legitimacy and to that end, chose import substitution as industrial strategy in order to promote industries with learning potentials but still with a likely concern for tariff proceeds as well as for the rent generation. Following Esfahani (2005)1, we include in the latter motive the need for the government to alleviate risk for groups that have imperfect access to the credit market. The estimation of a simple model for a cross section of 35 Tunisian manufacturing industries in 1997 shows that the industrial distribution of nominal protection in 1997 tended to reflect the special-interests pressures emanating from big, capitalistic firms, supplying consumer goods in the importsubstitution sectors. However, the workers’ interests and the government ad hoc growth objectives seem to matter, as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Sonia Naccache, 2008. "The Political Economy of Trade Policy in Tunisia," Working Papers 438, Economic Research Forum, revised 09 Jan 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:438
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard E. Caves, 1976. "Economic Models of Political Choice: Canada's Tariff Structure," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 9(2), pages 278-300, May.
    2. James Harrigan & Egon Zakrajsek, 2000. "Factor Supplies and Specialization in the World Economy," NBER Working Papers 7848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Theo Eicher & Thomas Osang, 2002. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1702-1710, December.
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    5. Bradford, Scott, 2006. "Protection and unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 257-271, July.
    6. Maggi, Giovanni & Rodriguez-Clare, Andres, 2000. "Import penetration and the politics of trade protection," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 287-304, August.
    7. 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.
    8. Phillip McCalman, 2004. "Protection for Sale and Trade Liberalization: an Empirical Investigation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 81-94, February.
    9. Ray, Edward John, 1981. "The Determinants of Tariff and Nontariff Trade Restrictions in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(1), pages 105-121, February.
    10. John S. Chipman, 1970. "External Economies of Scale and Competitive Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 347-385.
    11. Hadi Salehi Esfahani, 2005. "Searching for the (dark) forces behind protection," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 283-314, April.
    12. Chang Hong, 2013. "The political economy of tariff protection in China: evidence from the WTO accession," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1295-1316, November.
    13. Jagdish Bhagwati & Arvind Panagariya & T. N. Srinivasan, 1998. "Lectures on International Trade, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522470, January.
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