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Equity and Trade Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Joseph Francois

    () (Johannes Kepler University (Linz))

  • Hugo Rojas-Romagosa

    () (CPB (the Hague))

Abstract

We develop a dual approach to analyzing general equilibrium relationships between trade policy and household (as distinct from functional) income distribution, highlighting how general equilibrium distributional aspects of social welfare related to import protection may be examined alongside corresponding efficiency aspects in a dual framework. This includes the introduction of a social welfare function into the dual GE system that is explicitly separable between mean income and income dispersion. This then follows through to the government ob jective function. For government, this is manifested not only in special interest politics, but also through the direct impact of inequality on a governmentÕs ob jective function. We find that equity considerations may serve to counter lobbying interests in both capital-rich and capital-poor countries, though with an opposite marginal impact on the final policy outcome. We also identify a protectionist bias on the part of welfare maximizing governments in capital-rich countries. Our dual framework also offers a possible empirical framework for decomposition of policy-induced price changes into household inequality for a broad class of models.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Francois & Hugo Rojas-Romagosa, 2007. "Equity and Trade Policy," IIDE Discussion Papers 20070501, Institue for International and Development Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lnz:wpaper:20070501
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Elhanan Helpman, 1995. "Politics and Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 5309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Spilimbergo, Antonio & Londono, Juan Luis & Szekely, Miguel, 1999. "Income distribution, factor endowments, and trade openness," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 77-101.
    3. Francois, Joseph & Rojas-Romagosa, Hugo, 2004. "Household Inequality, Welfare and the Setting of Trade Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4624, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. J. Francois & H. Rojas-Romagosa, 2004. "Trade Policy and the Household Distribution of Income," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-051/2, Tinbergen Institute, revised 15 Jun 2004.
    5. Dutt, Pushan & Mitra, Devashish, 2002. "Endogenous trade policy through majority voting: an empirical investigation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 107-133, October.
    6. Francois, Joseph & Rojas-Romagosa, Hugo, 2005. "Equity, welfare, and the setting of trade policy in general equilibrium," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3731, The World Bank.
    7. J. David Richardson, 1995. "Income Inequality and Trade: How to Think, What to Conclude," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 33-55, Summer.
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    10. Baldwin, Robert E, 1989. "The Political Economy of Trade Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 119-135, Fall.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade and inequality; Sen welfare functions; duality; political economy of equity;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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