Trade Policy Determinants and Trade Reform in a Developing Country: The Case of Colombia
In this paper, I start out with a standard political economy of trade policy model to guide the subsequent estimation of the determinants of trade policy in a developing country. I carefully test the model with Colombian data from 1983 to 1998 accounting for endogeneity and omitted variable bias concerns and then expand it empirically in several directions. I show that it is important to control for the impact of a drastic trade reform shock that affects all sectors and disentangle its e¤ect from preferential trade agreements (PTAs). I find that protection is higher in sectors that are important exports for preferential partners which may be seen as a stumbling block effect of PTAs for Colombia. I also relax the assumption of ?xed political weights that measure the extra importance of producers?welfare relative to consumers in the government objective. I measure the impact of sectoral characteristics on tari¤s indirectly through political weights as a novel alternative to nonstructurally estimating them as determinants of protection. Accordingly, I obtain more realistic estimates for the political weights further contributing to the literature.
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