Protection for Sale with Imperfect Rent Capturing
University of Kiel Economics Working Paper No. 2004-01
35 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2004
Date Written: October 6, 2003
Grossman and Helpman explain tariffs as the outcome of a lobbying game between special interests and the government. Most empirical implementations of this framework use instead non-tariff barriers to measure the extent of protection. Importantly, while the former set of instruments allow the government to fully capture the rents from protection, the latter does not. As a result, structurally estimating the 'protection for sale' model using data on non-tariff barriers is likely to lead to biased parameter estimates. To address this problem, we augment Grossman and Helpman's (1994) model by explicitly considering trade policy instruments allowing only partial capturing. Taking our specification to the data, we find that, on average, 72-75 percent of the rent is actually captured. Furthermore, we obtain more realistic, lower estimates of the implied share of the population involved in lobbying activities than in the previous literature, while the estimated weight of aggregate welfare in the objective function of the government is as high as in previous studies.
Keywords: Protection for Sale
JEL Classification: F13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation