Policymakers' Horizon and Trade Reforms

38 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2011

See all articles by Paola Conconi

Paola Conconi

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Giovanni Facchini

Tinbergen Institute

Maurizio Zanardi

Lancaster University - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 2011

Abstract

Does policymakers' horizon affect their willingness to support economic reforms? Voting in the U.S. Congress provides an ideal setting to address this question. Differences between the House and Senate, in which members serve two-year and six-year mandates respectively, allow to examine the role of term length; the staggered structure of the Senate allows to compare the behavior of different "generations" of senators and study the impact of election proximity. Considering all major trade liberalization reforms undertaken by the U.S. since the early 1970's, we find that Senate members are more likely to support them than House members. However, inter-cameral differences disappear for third-generation senators, who face re-election at the same time as House members. Considering Senate votes alone, we find that the last generation is more protectionist than the previous two, a result that holds both when comparing different senators voting on the same bill and individual senators voting on different bills. Inter-generational differences disappear instead for senators who hold safe seats or have announced their retirement, indicating that the protectionist effect of election proximity is driven by legislators' fear of losing office.

Keywords: Election Proximity, Term Length, Trade Reforms

JEL Classification: D72, F10

Suggested Citation

Conconi, Paola and Facchini, Giovanni and Zanardi, Maurizio, Policymakers' Horizon and Trade Reforms (September 2011). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8561, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1928444

Paola Conconi (Contact Author)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
32 2 650 2345 (Phone)
32 2 650 4475 (Fax)

Giovanni Facchini

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://paople.few.eur.nl/facchini

Maurizio Zanardi

Lancaster University - Department of Economics ( email )

Lancaster LA1 4YX, LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/zanardi/

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