Endogenous Tariff Formation with Intra-Industry Trade
Previous theoretical contributions on endogenous tariff formation have focused on trade mod-els with homogeneous goods and constant returns to scale. This paper investigates the political equilibrium of trade policy when economic structure is instead characterized by differentiated products and increasing returns to scale and there exists intra-industry trade. The result shows that endogenous tariffs are positive for all industries with non-negligible shares of world pro-duction. However, the level of protection is less than the optimal tariff that would otherwise be imposed by a benevolent government in an unorganized industry, and higher in an organized industry. The protection provided to all unorganized (organized) industries increases (falls) with the relative weight the government attaches to aggregate welfare vis-` a-vis campaign contribu-tions and falls with the fraction of the population that belongs to a lobby group. The model also indicates that the endogenous tariff level in an organized industry might be explosive. The higher is the fraction of the population represented by a lobby and the higher is the weight on aggregate welfare in the government’s objective function, the smaller is the possibility for such an explosive tariff.
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