Interests, Institutions, and Ideology in Securing Policy Change: The Republican Conversion to Trade Liberalization after Smoot-Hawley

42 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 1999

See all articles by Randall Kroszner

Randall Kroszner

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Douglas A. Irwin

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 1999

Abstract

This paper investigates how changes in both institutional incentives and economic interests are important for securing durable changes in economic policy. We study how bipartisan support developed to sustain the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act (RTAA) of 1934, which fundamentally transformed U.S. trade policy. The durability of this change was achieved only when the Republicans, long-time supporters of high tariffs who originally vowed to repeal the RTAA, began to support this Democratic initiative in the 1940s. We find little evidence of an ideological shift among Republicans, but rather an increased sensitivity to export interests for which the institutional structure of the RTAA itself may have been responsible. We conclude that the combination of greater export opportunities and the institutional change which strengthened exporters' lobbying position was required to bring about Republican support for trade liberalization.

JEL Classification: D72, D78, F13, N72

Suggested Citation

Kroszner, Randall and Irwin, Douglas A., Interests, Institutions, and Ideology in Securing Policy Change: The Republican Conversion to Trade Liberalization after Smoot-Hawley (February 1999). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=170354 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.170354

Randall Kroszner (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

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Douglas A. Irwin

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

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603-646-2122 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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