Grossman and Helpman (1994) present a theory of endogenous protection by explicitly modeling government-industry interactions for which mere “black-box” models previously existed. They obtain a Ramsey pricing-type solution to the provision of protection which emphasizes the role of inverse import penetration ratios and import elasticities. On the lobbying side, the model makes predictions about lobbying competition and lobbying spending according to deadweight costs from protection. The model not only makes for richer theory in terms of rigor and elegance, but its predictions are directly testable. Whether the Grossman-Helman model stands up to real-world data is investigated in this paper. Predictions from both the protection side and lobbying side are tested using cross-sectional U.S. nontariff barrier data. We also compare the “second-generation” Grossman-Helpman model with a more traditional specification. Our results call for serious consideration of this model in the political economy literature.

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