• Political Representation and Protectionism: Assessing How Electoral Institutions Affect Tariff Levels

  • Do electoral rules affect the level of trade protection in democratic countries?
    Recent studies indicate that when it comes to trade protection, electoral systems
    do matter; however, a thorough analysis of the literature unveils the fact that com-
    peting theories and mixed findings still prevail. In this work, I intend to solve the
    empirical and theoretical puzzle involving political representation and trade policy
    by offering and testing an alternative explanation. My answer lies in the Stigler-
    Pultzman (S-P) analysis of regulation, formalized by Chang et al. in Electoral
    Systems and the Balance of Consumer-Producer Power. Adapting their model, I
    evaluate the effect of electoral institutions on the level of trade protection. More
    specifically, I analyze 56 democracies from 1996 to 2008 and estimate the effect
    of electoral systems’ level of responsiveness (electoral disproportionality) on trade
    protection. The preliminary findings indicate that the higher the rate of propor-
    tionality created by electoral institutions, the greater the level of protection that
    politicians will provide for special interest groups, especially in non-presidential