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Why Legislators are Protectionists: The Role of Majoritarian Voting in Setting Tariffs

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  • Willmann, Gerald

Abstract

Based on the observation that industries are often geographically concentrated, this paper proposes a new political economy model of trade protection. We associate the sectors of a specific factors model with electoral districts populated by continua of heterogeneous voters who differ in their relative factor endowments. We show how strategic delegation leads each district to elect a representative who is more protectionist than the median voter. The legislature formed by these representatives then sets tariffs that are strictly positive. Introducing additional policy instruments reveals a trade-off between efficiency and regional targetability.

Suggested Citation

  • Willmann, Gerald, 2003. "Why Legislators are Protectionists: The Role of Majoritarian Voting in Setting Tariffs," Economics Working Papers 2003-10, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cauewp:1049
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Facchini & Oliver Lorz & Gerald Willmann, 2006. "Asylum seekers in Europe: the warm glow of a hot potato," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 19(2), pages 411-430, June.
    2. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2005. "A Protectionist Bias in Majoritarian Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1239-1282.
    3. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2012. "Fast-Track Authority and International Trade Negotiations," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 146-189, August.
    4. Facchini, Giovanni & Silva, Peri & Willmann, Gerald, 2013. "The customs union issue: Why do we observe so few of them?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 136-147.
    5. Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto, 2011. "Heterogeneous Information and Trade Policy," 2011 Meeting Papers 189, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Hatfield, John William & Hauk, William R., 2014. "Electoral regime and trade policy," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 518-534.
    7. Jacopo Timini, 2019. "Staying dry on Spanish wine: the rejection of the 1905 Spanish-Italian trade agreement (Updated May 2020)," Working Papers 1932, Banco de España, revised May 2020.
    8. Dluhosch Barbara, 2010. "The Second-Mover Advantage in International Trade Negotiations," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-37, February.
    9. Gawande, Kishore & Krishna, Pravin & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2009. "What Governments Maximize and Why: The View from Trade," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 491-532, July.
    10. Mirabelle Muûls & Dimitra Petropoulou, 2013. "A swing state theory of trade protection in the Electoral College," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(2), pages 705-724, May.
    11. Celik, Levent & Karabay, Bilgehan & McLaren, John, 2013. "Trade policy-making in a model of legislative bargaining," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 179-190.
    12. Everaert, Greetje M.M., 2004. "The political economy of restructuring and subsidisation : an international perspective," BOFIT Discussion Papers 12/2004, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    13. Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Maria Petrova & Ruben Enikolopov, 2008. "The Dracula effect: voter information and trade policy," Economics Working Papers 1296, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2020.
    14. Hatfield, John, 2006. "Federalism, Taxation, and Economic Growth," Research Papers 1929, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade policy; political economy; representative democracy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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