Too Small To Protect? The Role of Firm Size in Trade Agreements
This paper develops a model of a trade agreement that puts at centre stage the competing interests between firms within a sector: Larger firms tend to be pro-trade liberalization whereas smaller firms favor protection. This set-up contrasts with the prior literature in economics that has tended to focus on competing interests between sectors, and further develops a literature in political science. The paper determines the set of circumstances under which a trade agreement will be reached, and the extent of trade liberalization, in an environment where firms can lobby the government for or against a proposed agreement. Lobbying is modelled as an all-pay auction, incorporating the feature that binding contracts over contributions for policies cannot be written. This approach gives rise to the possibility that a trade agreement may not go ahead even if it would increase efficiency. In this set-up, if a proposed agreement is over non-tariff barriers and if it goes ahead then it always entails free trade. On the other hand, if a proposed agreement is over tariffs and if it goes ahead then it either entails free trade or the tariff revenue maximizing tariff.
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