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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Michael Robbins

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January 2004Foreign Lobbies and US Trade Policy
with Kishore Gawande, Pravin Krishna: w10205
In popular discussion much has been made recently of the susceptibility of government policies to lobbying by foreigners. The general presumption has also been that such interactions have a deleterious effect on the home economy. However, it can be argued that, in a trade policy context, bending policy in a direction that would suit foreigners may not in fact be harmful: If the policy outcome absent any lobbying by foreigners is characterized by welfare-reducing trade barriers, lobbying by foreigners may result in reductions in such barriers and raise consumer surplus (and possibly improve welfare). Using a new data set on foreign political activity in the US, this paper investigates the relationship between trade protection and lobbying activity empirically. The approach taken in this pap...

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