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The Mercantilist Index of Trade Policy

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  • James E. Anderson
  • J. Peter Neary

Abstract

We introduce an index of trade policy restrictiveness defined as the uniform tariff that maintains the same trade volume as a given tariff/quota structure. Our index overcomes the problems of the trade-weighted average tariff: It avoids substitution bias, correctly accounts for general equilibrium transfers, and takes import volume instead of welfare as benchmark. Empirical applications to international cross section and time-series comparisons of trade policy confirm our theoretical results: Trade-weighted average tariffs generally underestimate the true height of tariffs as measured by the trade-volume-equivalent index; this in turn always underestimates the welfare-equivalent index. Copyright 2003 By The Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 44 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (05)
Pages: 627-649

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:44:y:2003:i:2:p:627-649

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References

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  1. Feenstra, R.C., 1995. "Estimating the Effects of Trade Policy," Department of Economics 95-10, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  2. J.P. Neary, 1997. "Pitfalls in the Theory of International Trade Policy: Concertina Reforms of Tariffs and Subsidies to High Technology Industries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0346, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Measuring outward orientation in LDCs: Can it be done?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 307-335, May.
  4. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1992. "Trade Reform with Quotas, Partial Rent Retention, and Tariffs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 57-76, January.
  5. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1993. "Domestic Distortions and International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 786, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Neary, J Peter & Schweinberger, Albert G, 1984. "Factor Content Functions and the Theory of International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 3, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. James E. Anderson & J. Peter Neary, 1999. "The Mercantilist Index of Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 6870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen & Douglas A. Irwin, 1999. "Is Globalization Today Really Different than Globalization a Hunderd Years Ago?," NBER Working Papers 7195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Randi Boorstein & Robert C. Feenstra, 1987. "Quality Upgrading and its Welfare Cost in U.S. Steel Imports, 1969-74," NBER Working Papers 2452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1997. "An Economic Theory of GATT," NBER Working Papers 6049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. J Anderson & J.P. Neary, 1993. "A New Approach to Evaluating Trade Policy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0173, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. Anderson, James E, 1995. "Tariff-Index Theory," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 156-73, June.
  13. O'Rourke, Kevin H., 1997. "Measuring protection: a cautionary tale," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 169-183, June.
  14. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "Technology and trade," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 25, pages 1279-1337 Elsevier.
  15. Pritchett, Lant & Sethi, Geeta, 1993. "Tariff rates, tariff revenue, and tariff reform : some new facts," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1143, The World Bank.
  16. Aw, Bee Yan & Roberts, Mark J., 1986. "Measuring quality change in quota-constrained import markets: The Case of U.S. Footwear," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 45-60, August.
  17. David Cox & Richard Harris, 1983. "Trade Liberalization and Industrial Organization: Some Estimates for Canada," Working Papers 523, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  18. Hatta, Tatsuo, 1977. "A Theory of Piecemeal Policy Recommendations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 1-21, February.
  19. James Anderson, 1995. "Trade Restrictiveness Benchmarks," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 290., Boston College Department of Economics.
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