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The Political Economy of the Tariff Cycle

James Cassing (), Timothy J. McKeown and Jack Ochs

American Political Science Review, 1986, vol. 80, issue 3, 843-862

Abstract: How can protectionism and “free†trade succeed one another? Our answer focuses on the changing balance of private actors' political demands. These actors acquire interests in tariff policies because their assets are spatially concentrated, and trade in these assets is subject to various limitations. Actors in regions experiencing no new investment in an established industry (“old†regions) have interests that sometimes differ from those in regions where there is new investment. We show that old regions have no reason to be involved in tariff politics at business cycle peaks; during troughs, whether a state becomes more or less protectionist depends, ceteris paribus, on the relative political strength of old import-competing and old exporting interests. If old import-competing industries outweigh the old exporters, then protection will tend to increase at the trough and decrease at the peak of a business cycle; the opposite result occurs when old exporters are more influential.

Date: 1986
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Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:80:y:1986:i:03:p:843-862_18