Abstract

We provide a theory of trade policy determination that incorporates the protectionist bias inherent in majoritarian systems, suggested by Grossman and Helpman (2005). The prediction that emerges is that in majoritarian systems, the majority party favors industries located disproportionately in majority districts. We test this prediction using U.S. tariff data from 1993, and House campaign contribution data from two electoral cycles. We find evidence of a protectionist bias due to majoritarian system politics that is comparable in magnitude to the payoff from being an organized industry.

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