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date: 23 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

A growing body of scholarship examines the relationship between electoral systems and trade policy. Despite increased attention to electoral institutions, no consensus exists about which system makes politicians most responsive to protectionist demands. Conflicting conclusions about electoral systems’ effects are surprising, because these institutions lie at the heart of democratic politics. This chapter offers several potential reasons for the current impasse. One possibility is that the nature of the electorate mediates the effect of electoral rules on trade policy. Understanding voters’ economic interests and their geographic location may be necessary to comprehend precisely how electoral rules shape trade barriers. Greater attention to mediating factors may help resolve the current debate.

Keywords: electoral rules, geographic location, concentration, subsidies, economic interests, trade policy, trade barriers, democratic politics, institutions

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