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Politics and Trade Policy: An Empirical Investigation"

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  • Theo S Eicher
  • Thomas Osang

Abstract

In this paper we examine the empirical relevance of three prominent endogenous protection models. Is protection for sale, or do altruistic policy makers worry about political support? We find strong evidence that protection is indeed "for sale." The important new result is, however, that not only the existence of lobbies matters, but also the relative size of the sectoral pro and anti protection contributions. All variables of both the Influence Driven (Grossman and Helpman, 1994) and the Tariff Function (Findlay and Wellisz, 1982) models are significant at the one percent level. Novel is our application of a single, unified theoretical framework to take strict interpretations of the three theoretical models to the data. We thus extend the previous tests of the Influence Driven approach by comparing its performance to well specified alternatives. Using J tests to compare the power of the models directly, we find significant misspecification in the Political Support Function approach. We cannot reject the null hypothesis of correct specification of the Influence Driven model and find evidence of some misspecification in the Tariff Function model.
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Suggested Citation

  • Theo S Eicher & Thomas Osang, 2000. "Politics and Trade Policy: An Empirical Investigation"," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0004, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:washer:0004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Robert C. Feenstra & Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 1982. "Tariff Seeking and the Efficient Tariff," NBER Chapters,in: Import Competition and Response, pages 245-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Baldwin, Robert E & Magee, Christopher S, 2000. "Is Trade Policy for Sale? Congressional Voting on Recent Trade Bills," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(1-2), pages 79-101, October.
    4. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    5. J. Michael Finger & Ann Harrison, 1996. "The MFA Paradox: More Protection and More Trade?," NBER Chapters,in: The Political Economy of American Trade Policy, pages 197-260 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Hillman, Arye L, 1982. "Declining Industries and Political-Support Protectionist Motives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1180-1187, December.
    7. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119.
    8. Magee,Stephen P. & Brock,William A. & Young,Leslie, 1989. "Black Hole Tariffs and Endogenous Policy Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521377003, April.
    9. 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 138-160, February.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Kishore Gawande, 1998. "Comparing Theories Of Endogenous Protection: Bayesian Comparison Of Tobit Models Using Gibbs Sampling Output," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 128-140, February.
    14. Ronald Findlay & Stanislaw Wellisz, 1982. "Endogenous Tariffs, the Political Economy of Trade Restrictions, and Welfare," NBER Chapters,in: Import Competition and Response, pages 223-244 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Staiger, Robert W & Tabellini, Guido, 1987. "Discretionary Trade Policy and Excessive Protection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 823-837, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Willmann, Gerald, 2003. "Why Legislators are Protectionists: The Role of Majoritarian Voting in Setting Tariffs," Economics Working Papers 2003-10, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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