This paper deals with the effects of democracy and institutional setting on agricultural protection in 35 developed and developing countries during 1982–1992. Regression analysis is conducted to test the effects of three alternative measures of democracy and two composite indices of the quality of institutions that protect and enforce property rights. After controlling for many other political and economic determinants of agricultural protection, the paper shows that democracy affects protection positively, but it is not the level of democracy per se that seems to matter. On the contrary there is strong evidence that the quality of institutions that protect and enforce property rights is a key determinant of agricultural protection. This empirical result is robust to changes in institutional proxy, country sample and statistical problems.