The Political Economy of American Protection in Theory and in Practice
The results of recent empirical research show that the actual determinants of the form and substance of protection have little to do with the implicit classroom model of benevolent social guardians intent upon maximizing a Benthamite social utility function. This has led to efforts to understand the political bureaucratic process through which commercial policy is determined, and to the beginnings of a positive theory of protection, sometimes referred to as the "political economy of protection". In this paper the theoretical cases in which protection might be warranted are contrasted to the actual pattern of protection and mechanisms by which protection is decided upon in one open economy--the United states, and the various models attempting to explain the observed pattern of protection and the mechanisms that generate it are surveyed.
Published: in Horst Herberg and Ngo Van Long, eds., Trade, Welfare, and Economic Policies, University of Michigan Press, 1993, p. 215-236