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Optimal Tariffs, Retaliation and the Welfare Loss from Tariff Wars in the Melitz Model

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  • Gabriel J. Felbermayr
  • Benjamin Jung
  • Mario Larch

Abstract

This paper characterizes analytically the optimal tariff of a large one-sector economy with monopolistic competition and firm heterogeneity in general equilibrium, thereby extending the small-country results of Demidova and Rodriguez-Clare (JIE, 2009) and the homogeneous firms framework of Gros (JIE, 1987). The optimal tariff internalizes a markup distortion and a terms of trade externality. It is larger the higher the dispersion of firm-level productivities, and the bigger the country's relative size or relative average productivity. Furthermore, in the two-country Nash equilibrium, tariffs turn out to be strategic substitutes. Small or poor economies set lower Nash tariffs than large or rich ones. Lower transportation costs or smaller fixed market entry costs induce higher equilibrium tariffs and larger welfare losses relative to the case of zero tariffs. Similarly, cross-country productivity or size convergence increases the global welfare loss due to non-cooperative tariff policies. These results suggest that post WWII trends have increased the relative merits of the WTO.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3474.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3474

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Keywords: optimal tariffs; retaliation; tariff wars; heterogeneous firms; World Trade Organization; Nash equilibrium;

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  1. Pflüger, Michael & Suedekum, Jens, 2013. "Subsidizing firm entry in open economies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 258-271.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hübler, Michael & Pothen, Frank, 2013. "The optimal tariff in the presence of trade-induced productivity gains," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-103, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Mario Larch , & Wolfgang Lechthaler, 2011. "Whom to Send to Doha? The Shortsighted Ones!," Kiel Working Papers 1695, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  3. Fabrice Defever & Alejandro Riaño, 2013. "China's Pure Exporter Subsidies," FIW Working Paper series 121, FIW.
  4. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Larch, Mario & Lechthaler, Wolfgang, 2012. "Endogenous labor market institutions in an open economy," Munich Reprints in Economics 20600, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Jung, Benjamin, 2012. "Unilateral trade liberalization in the Melitz model: A note," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 30, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
  6. Costinot, Arnaud & Donaldson, Dave & Vogel, Jonathan & Werning, Iván, 2013. "Comparative Advantage and Optimal Trade Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 9765, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Gabriel J. Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung, 2011. "Home Market Effects and the Single-Sector Melitz Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 3695, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Jung, Benjamin & Felbermayr, Gabriel & Larch, Mario, 2013. "Icebergs versus Tariffs: A Quantitative Perspective on the Gains from Trade," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79707, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  9. Segerstrom, Paul & Sugita, Yoichi, 2014. "The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Industrial Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 9952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Fabrice Defever & Alejandro Riaño, 2012. "China's pure exporter subsidies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48929, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Jasmin Gröschl, 2012. "Neuer Protektionismus – Gefahren für den Freihandel," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 65(15), pages 35-39, 08.
  12. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Jung, Benjamin & Larch, Mario, 2012. "Tariffs and welfare in new trade theory models," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 41, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.

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