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Endogenous trade policy in general equilibrium: An interaction of redistribution rule, trade openness, and labor market condition

Ram C. Acharya

Economics and Politics, 2018, vol. 30, issue 3, 423-443

Abstract: Using a general equilibrium framework, the paper derives trade policy endogenously for a small country. It shows that, contrary to the existing literature, a lobbying industry is not guaranteed trade protection; it may even face trade taxes. Besides lobbying, trade policy depends on other factors such as the trade revenue distribution rule, income distribution across groups, trade openness, factor substitutability in production, industry employment size, and labor market flexibility. The paper also shows that the observed phenomenon of government preference for import tariffs over export subsidies—a long overdue puzzle—is an inherent outcome of lobbying equilibrium. It also shows that trade policies such as import tariffs and export taxes that have the same impact on economic market—Lerner symmetry (1936)—are driven by the same forces in the political market.

Date: 2018
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