A Protectionist Bias in Majoritarian Politics
48 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2005
Date Written: September 2005
We develop a novel model of campaigns, elections, and policymaking in which the ex ante objectives of national party leaders differ from the ex post objectives of elected legislators. This generates a distinction between "policy rhetoric" and "policy reality" and introduces an important role for "party discipline" in the policymaking process. We identify a protectionist bias in majoritarian politics. When trade policy is chosen by the majority delegation and legislators in the minority have limited means to influence choices, the parties announce trade policies that favor specific factors, and the expected tariff or export subsidy is positive. Positions and expected outcomes monotonically approach free trade as party discipline strengthens.
Keywords: Trade policy, comparative politics, party discipline, tyranny of the majority
JEL Classification: D72, F13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation