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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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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    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. Gawande, Kishore & Krishna, Pravin & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2009. "What Governments Maximize and Why: The View from Trade," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(03), pages 491-532, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Facchini, Giovanni & Silva, Peri & Willmann, Gerald, 2013. "The customs union issue: Why do we observe so few of them?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 136-147.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto, 2008. "Heterogeneous information and trade policy," Economics Working Papers 1296, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2011.
    9. Hatfield, John, 2006. "Federalism, Taxation, and Economic Growth," Research Papers 1929, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    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. Hatfield, John William & Hauk, William R., 2014. "Electoral regime and trade policy," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 518-534.
    12. Dluhosch Barbara, 2010. "The Second-Mover Advantage in International Trade Negotiations," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-37, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trade policy; political economy; representative democracy;

    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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