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What Governments Maximize and Why: The View from Trade

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  • Kishore Gawande
  • Pravin Krishna
  • Marcelo Olarreaga

Abstract

Policy making power enables governments to redistribute income to powerful interests in society. However, some governments exhibit greater concern for aggregate welfare than others. This government behavior may itself be endogenously determined by a number of economic, political and institutional factors. Trade policy, being fundamentally redistributive, provides a valuable context in which the welfare mindedness of governments may be empirically evaluated. This paper investigates quantitatively the welfare mindedness of governments and attempts to understand these political and institutional determinants of the differences in government behavior across countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Kishore Gawande & Pravin Krishna & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2009. "What Governments Maximize and Why: The View from Trade," NBER Working Papers 14953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14953
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F5 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy

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