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Protection for Sale: The Case of Oligopolistic Competition and Interdependent Sectors

by Elena Paltseva, forthcoming in Canadian Journal of Economics

In Grossman and Helpman’s (1994) canonical "Protection for Sale" (PFS) model political competition between industry lobbies is purely driven by their interests as consumers. This paper introduces demand linkages and oligopolistic competition into PFS framework to address the rivalry among lobbies due to product substitutability. It shows that increased substitutability weakens the interest groups’ incentives to lobby and reduces tariff distortions. This may explain why empirical tests of PFS find surprisingly little impact of lobbies on the government trade policy decision. The paper also analyzes endogenous lobby formation, suggesting that demand linkages may adversely affect industry decision to get organized.

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