Global value chains and corporate lobbying for trade liberalization

  • Ka Zeng
  • Karen Sebold
  • Yue Lu


This paper examines the influence of growing global value chain (GVC) integration on the pattern of corporate lobbying for trade liberalization in the United States. We hypothesize that industries with a higher level of foreign content embodied in their exports should be more likely to support trade liberalization. This is because reduced tariff barriers should substantially reduce both the costs of inputs for such industries and the rents that may be obtained through protectionist policies. We test our hypotheses through an examination of the lobbying and election funding activities of the Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. between 2006 and 2012, using the debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership to orient our analysis. Research findings, which corroborate our main hypotheses, point to the need to revisit conventional models of industry demand for trade liberalization in light of the growing integration of trade, production, and investment activities in the global economy.


Global value chains Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade lobbying Trade liberalization 

JEL codes

F13 F14 F15 



We thank Xiaojun Li for valuable comments on earlier versions of this article, and Clayton Tumlison and Austin Wilkins for research assistance. Ka Zeng gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Chiang-Ching Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. Yue Lu acknowledges funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project number: 71873031; 71503048) and the National Social Science Foundation of China (Project number: 17ZDA098).

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  2. 2.China Institute for WTO StudiesUniversity of International Business and EconomicsBeijingChina

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