What Governments Maximize and Why: The View from Trade
Policy making power enables governments to redistribute income to powerful interests in society. However, some governments exhibit greater concern for aggregate welfare than others. This government behavior may itself be endogenously determined by a number of economic, political and institutional factors. Trade policy, being fundamentally redistributive, provides a valuable context in which the welfare mindedness of governments may be empirically evaluated. This paper investigates quantitatively the welfare mindedness of governments and attempts to understand these political and institutional determinants of the differences in government behavior across countries.
Financial support from the World Bank's Research Department is gratefully acknowledged. We thank seminar participants at the 2006 Southern Economic Association Meetings, the 2007 American Political Science Association Meetings, University of Toronto, Texas A&M, World Trade Organization (Geneva), and the World Bank for useful comments. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Gawande, Kishore & Krishna, Pravin & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2009. "What Governments Maximize and Why: The View from Trade," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(03), pages 491-532, July. citation courtesy of