NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Democracy and Protectionism

Kevin H. O'Rourke, Alan M. Taylor

NBER Working Paper No. 12250
Issued in May 2006
NBER Program(s):   DAE   ITI

Does democracy encourage free trade? It depends. Broadening the franchise involves transferring power from non-elected elites to the wider population, most of whom will be workers. The Hecksher-Ohlin-Stolper-Samuelson logic says that democratization should lead to more liberal trade policies in countries where workers stand to gain from free trade; and to more protectionist policies in countries where workers will benefit from the imposition of tariffs and quotas. We test and confirm these political economy implications of trade theory hypothesis using data on democracy, factor endowments, and protection in the late nineteenth century.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12250

Published: Hatton, Timothy J., Kevin H. O’Rourke and Alan M. Taylor (eds.) The New Comparative Economic History: Essays in Honor of Jeffrey G. Williamson. MIT Press, 2007.

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