What Governments Maximize and Why: The View from Trade

53 Pages Posted: 19 May 2009 Last revised: 19 Mar 2010

See all articles by Kishore Gawande

Kishore Gawande

University of Texas at Austin

Pravin Krishna

Johns Hopkins University - Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); Brown University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Marcelo Olarreaga

University of Geneva; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: May 2009

Abstract

Policy making power enables governments to redistribute income to powerful interests in society. However, some governments exhibit greater concern for aggregate welfare than others. This government behavior may itself be endogenously determined by a number of economic, political and institutional factors. Trade policy, being fundamentally redistributive, provides a valuable context in which the welfare mindedness of governments may be empirically evaluated. This paper investigates quantitatively the welfare mindedness of governments and attempts to understand these political and institutional determinants of the differences in government behavior across countries.

Suggested Citation

Gawande, Kishore and Krishna, Pravin and Olarreaga, Marcelo, What Governments Maximize and Why: The View from Trade (May 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14953. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1405941

Kishore Gawande

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Pravin Krishna (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins University - Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) ( email )

1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1984
United States

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Marcelo Olarreaga

University of Geneva ( email )

40 Boulevard du Pont-d'Arve
Genève, CH - 1205
Switzerland

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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