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Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation

  • Pinelopi Koujianou Goldbe
  • Giovanni Maggi

A prominent model in the recent political-economy literature on trade policy is Grossman and Helpman's (1994) Protection for Sale' model. This model yields clear predictions for the cross-sectional structure of trade protection. The objective of our" paper is to check whether the predictions of the Grossman-Helpman model are consistent with the data and, if the model finds support, to estimate its two key structural parameters: the government's valuation of welfare relative to contributions, and the fraction of the voting population represented by a lobby. We find that the pattern of protection in the U.S. in 1983 is consistent with the basic predictions of the model. Our estimate of the government's valuation of welfare relative to contributions is surprisingly high; the weight of welfare in the government's objective function is estimated to be between 50 and 88 times the weight of contributions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5942.

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Date of creation: Feb 1997
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Publication status: published as American Economic Review (December 1999): 1135-1155.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5942
Note: ITI
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  1. Chesher, Andrew & Irish, Margaret, 1987. "Residual analysis in the grouped and censored normal linear model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 33-61.
  2. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Jong-Wha Lee & Phillip Swagel, 2000. "Trade Barriers And Trade Flows Across Countries And Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 372-382, August.
  4. Maddala,G. S., 1986. "Limited-Dependent and Qualitative Variables in Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521338257.
  5. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 265-86, April.
  6. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
  7. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 675-708, August.
  8. J Anderson & J.P. Neary, 1993. "A New Approach to Evaluating Trade Policy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0173, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Clinton Shiells & Robert Stern & Alan Deardorff, 1989. "Estimates of the elasticities of substitution between imports and home goods for the United States: Reply," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 371-374, June.
  10. Kishore Gawande & Usree Bandyopadhyay, 2000. "Is Protection for Sale? Evidence on the Grossman-Helpman Theory of Endogenous Protection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 139-152, February.
  11. Maggi, Giovanni & Rodriguez-Clare, Andres, 2000. "Import penetration and the politics of trade protection," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 287-304, August.
  12. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Political economy of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1494 Elsevier.
  13. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1984. "Endogenous Tariff Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 970-85, December.
  14. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
  15. Ray, Edward John, 1981. "The Determinants of Tariff and Nontariff Trade Restrictions in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(1), pages 105-21, February.
  16. Elhanan Helpman, 1995. "Politics and Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 5309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Pagan, Adrian & Vella, Frank, 1989. "Diagnostic Tests for Models Based on Individual Data: A Survey," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(S), pages S29-59, Supplemen.
  18. Hillman, Arye L, 1982. "Declining Industries and Political-Support Protectionist Motives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1180-87, December.
  19. Ronald Findlay & Stanislaw Wellisz, 1982. "Endogenous Tariffs, the Political Economy of Trade Restrictions, and Welfare," NBER Chapters, in: Import Competition and Response, pages 223-244 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Edward E. Leamer, 1986. "Cross Section Estimation of the Effects of Trade Barriers," UCLA Economics Working Papers 417, UCLA Department of Economics.
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