NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Politics of Free Trade Agreements

Gene M. Grossman, Elhanan Helpman

NBER Working Paper No. 4597
Issued in December 1993
NBER Program(s):   ITI

Suppose that an opportunity arises for two countries to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA). Will an FTA between these countries be politically viable? And if so, what form will it take? We address these questions using a political-economy framework that emphasizes the interaction between industry special interest groups and an incumbent government. We describe the economic conditions necessary for an FTA to be an equilibrium outcome, both for the case when the agreement must cover all bilateral trade and when a few, politically sensitive sectors can be excluded from the agreement.

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Published: American Economic Review, vol. 85, 1995, pp. 667-690

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