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Foreign Influence and Welfare

Author

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  • Pol Antràs
  • Gerard Padró i Miquel

Abstract

How do foreign interests influence the policy determination process? What are the welfare implications of such foreign influence? In this paper we develop a model of foreign influence and apply it to the study of optimal tariffs. We develop a two-country voting model of electoral competition, where we allow the incumbent party in each country to take costly actions that probabilistically affect the electoral outcome in the other country. We show that policies end up maximizing a weighted sum of domestic and foreign welfare, and we study the determinants of this weight. We show that foreign influence may be welfare-enhancing from the point of view of aggregate world welfare because it helps alleviate externalities arising from cross-border effects of policies. Foreign influence can however prove harmful in the presence of large imbalances in influence power across countries. We apply our model of foreign influence to the study of optimal trade policy. We derive a modified formula for the optimal import tariff and show that a country's import tariff is more distorted whenever the influenced country is small relative to the influencing country and whenever natural trade barriers between the two countries are small.

Suggested Citation

  • Pol Antràs & Gerard Padró i Miquel, 2008. "Foreign Influence and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 14129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14129
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Julia Cage & Lucie Gadenne, 2014. "Tax Revenues, Development, and the Fiscal Cost of Trade Liberalization, 1792-2006," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4icc4hr7684, Sciences Po.
    2. Aidt, Toke S. & Albornoz, Facundo, 2011. "Political regimes and foreign intervention," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 192-201, March.
    3. Kazunobu HAYAKAWA & Nuttawut LAKSANAPANYAKUL & Pisit PUAPAN & Sasatra SUDSAWASD, 2015. "Government Strategy and Support for Regional Trade Agreements: The Case of Thailand," Working Papers DP-2015-37, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).
    4. Facundo Albornoz & Esther Hauk, 2010. "Civil War and Foreign Influence," Working Papers 480, Barcelona Graduate School 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
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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