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Political Particularism and Trade Policy in Developing Democracies

Political Particularism and Trade Policy in Developing Democracies

(p.107) Four Political Particularism and Trade Policy in Developing Democracies
Democracy and Trade Policy in Developing Countries
Bumba Mukherjee
University of Chicago Press

Electoral institutions drive the political strategies and economic policies of incumbents in developing states where democracy is consolidated over time. This chapter develops a theoretical model that identifies the most critical set of electoral institutions that are likely to affect trade politics and trade policy choices of politicians in consolidated democracies across the developing world. The model suggests that “political particularism” – that drives the discipline, internal strength and centralization of political parties – is the single most important electoral institutional factor that drives trade politics and the political relationship between labor and capital in established developing country democracies. Using the logic of game-theory, the model shows that political leaders in candidate-centered democracies (which have weak political parties) are more likely to weigh the trade policy of interests of labor over protectionist owners of import-competing industries. The model is further extended to show that incumbents in party-centered democracies are more susceptible to lobbying by protectionist industries and are also more likely to pander to the interests of capital over labor. The substantive implications of the theoretical model developed in this chapter are presented and discussed in detail.

Keywords:   party strength, candidate-centered democracy, party-centered democracy, campaign contributions

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