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

  • Willmann, Gerald

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.

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Paper provided by Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Papers with number 2003,10.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:cauewp:1049
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  9. Facchini, Giovanni & Willmann, Gerald, 2005. "The political economy of international factor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 201-219, September.
  10. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2001. "Lobbying and Welfare in a Representative Democracy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 67-82, January.
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  12. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
  13. 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.
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  17. 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.
  18. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1759, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  21. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: a Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2495, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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