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The Structure of Tariffs and Long-Term Growth

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  • Nathan Nunn
  • Daniel Trefler

Abstract

We show that the "skill bias" of a country's tariff structure is positively correlated with long-term per capita GDP growth. Testing for causal mechanisms, we find evidence consistent with the existence of real benefits from tariffs focused in skill-intensive industries. However, this only accounts for a quarter of the total correlation between skill-biased tariffs and growth. Turning to alternative explanations, we extend the standard Grossman-Helpman "protection-for- sale" model and show how the skill bias of tariffs can reflect the extent of domestic rent-seeking activities in the economy. We provide evidence that the remaining variation is explained by this endogeneity. (JEL D72, F13, F43, O17, O19, O24, O47)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 158-94

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:2:y:2010:i:4:p:158-94

Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.2.4.158
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  3. Nathan Nunn & Daniel Trefler, 2006. "Putting the Lid on Lobbying: Tariff Structure and Long-Term Growth when Protection is for Sale," NBER Working Papers 12164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Antonio Tena Junguito & Markus Lampe & Felipe Tâmega, 2012. "How much trade liberalization was there in the world before and after Cobden-Chevalier?," Working Papers in Economic History wp12-02, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  2. Copeland, Brian R., 2012. "International trade and green growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6235, The World Bank.
  3. Hallegatte, Stephane & Fay, Marianne & Vogt-Schilb, Adrien, 2013. "Green industrial policies : when and how," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6677, The World Bank.

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