Dirk De Bièvre, Andreas Dür
Delegation and Control in European and American Trade Policy
Trade policy in both the European Union and the United States has been characterized by a high de-gree of delegation to the executive. Existing explanations for delegation claim that legislators delegate because they wish to liberalize trade policy but are unable to achieve this aim by acting on their own. As a result, scholars have been led to try and distinguish periods where legislators abdicated their powers in order to have the executive impose liberalization, from periods where principals reasserted their control to provide protection. We take issue with this prevalent view, show that legislators dele-gate powers to achieve foreign market access for domestic exporters as well as powers to provide protection to import-competing interests, and explain why there has been a steady increase in delega-tion and a concurrent extension of control. Since principals are confronted with heterogeneous de-mands from both exporting and import-competing groups, they delegate to two sets of agents to con-fer concentrated benefits on these constituencies, and install control to avoid concentrated losses, while maintaining the flow of resources from lobbying. We derive the empirically observable implica-tion that, with the increase in the share of tradables in the overall economy, delegation as well as con-trol should have steadily increased over time. We test the validity of this proposition for both political entities over the past half century.