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Politics and Trade Policy

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  • Elhanan Helpman

Abstract

First I describe a number of political economy approaches that have been developed to explain trade policies. All approaches are presented in a unified framework that helps to see the key differences among them. These comparisons revolve around tariff formulas that are predicted by political equilibria. A typical formula explains cross- sectoral variations in rates of protection as well as differences in average rates of protection across countries. Second, I review a set of results that emerge from a new approach to the interaction of international economic relations with domestic politics. Importantly, there are two-way interactions in such systems. They link the formation of trade policies in the international arena with the activities of domestic special interest groups. The use of a framework of this sort is essential for a proper analysis of a host of important problems, such as negotiations about tariff levels or the formation of free trade areas. Recent studies have developed suitable tools for this purpose.

Suggested Citation

  • Elhanan Helpman, 1995. "Politics and Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 5309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5309
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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