Access Points and Bias in Trade Policy

Sean D. Ehrlich

in Access Points

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199737536
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918645 | DOI:
Access Points and Bias in Trade Policy

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This chapter and the two that follow use Access Point Theory to explain bias in policy outcomes, starting here with an examination of tariff rates and trade policy. Protectionists should have a lobbying advantage because the benefits of protection are concentrated on domestic industries that compete with imports while the costs of protection are dispersed among all consumers of the protected products so that it is easier for protectionists to overcome the collective action problem. As a result, the more access points there are, the higher the level of protection there will be. This chapter finds support for this argument by examining tariffs in post–World War II developed democracies as well as examining the effect of delegation to the President on tariff rates and Congressional lobbying on trade policy in the United States over the course of the twentieth century.

Keywords: trade; tariffs; collective action problem; delegation; congressional testimony; bias

Chapter.  11748 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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