In popular discussion, much has been made of the susceptibility of government policies to lobbying by foreigners—the general presumption being that this is harmful to the home economy. However, in a trade policy context this may not be the case. If the policy outcome absent any foreign lobbying is characterized by welfare-reducing trade barriers, foreign lobbying may reduce such barriers and possibly raise welfare. Using a new data set on foreign political activity in the United States, this paper investigates this question empirically. Tariffs and nontariff barriers are both found to be negatively related with foreign lobbying activity.

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