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1 Dec 2014    Journal Articles
Francois, Joseph


Political support for trade policy in the European Union

Political support for trade policy in the European Union

Journal article by Joseph Francois and Douglas R. Nelson, Volume 36, December 2014, Pages 243–253

Abstract

We adopt the Stigler–Peltzman model of policy-making as developed by Hillman for application to the politics of international trade, in which the government is represented by a political support function trading-off the industry rents stemming from protection against the losses accruing to the general population. As a starting point, we examine the economic impact of actual government action as revealed by the structure of protection, backing out the weights implied by the marginal welfare effects of the set of EU import tariffs across sectors. We build on Tyers' application of methods to international trade employing a numerical general equilibrium model of the EU. This captures direct marginal effects of sector-level protection on protected industries, indirect effects on upstream and downstream industries, and the effect on overall welfare. We then deconstruct the revealed weighting pattern along the lines of industry nationality and related industry characteristics.

Political support for trade policy in the European Union