Public Choice

, Volume 150, Issue 3, pp 745-769

First online:

Net campaign contributions, agricultural interests, and votes on liberalizing trade with China

  • John GilbertAffiliated withDepartment of Economics and Finance, Utah State University Email author 
  • , Reza OladiAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Economics, Utah State University

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We consider the potential influence of contributions from interest groups to political rivals in the voting behavior of US legislators on international trade policy issues. Our application addresses the determinants of the Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China decision, and focuses particular attention on the agriculture/agribusiness lobby. A simultaneous voting-net contributions model suggests that these contributions were very effective relative to organized labor and other corporate groups, despite their relatively small dollar value. Possible explanations arising from differences in targeting strategies are explored.


Trade policy Agricultural political economy Binary choice models China

JEL Classification