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Icebergs versus Tariffs: A Quantitative Perspective on the Gains from Trade

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  • Gabriel J. Felbermayr
  • Benjamin Jung
  • Mario Larch

Abstract

Recent quantitative trade models treat import tariffs as pure cost shifters so that their effects are similar to iceberg trade costs. We introduce revenue-generating import tariffs, which act as demand shifters, into the framework of Arkolakis, Costinot and Rodriguez-Clare (2012), and generalize their gains from trade equation. Our formula permits easy quantification based on countries’ observed degrees of openness, tariff revenues, and on the gravity elasticities of tariffs and icebergs. Export selection drives a wedge between these two elasticities and matters for welfare gains. However, in all model variants, an analysis based on iceberg costs necessarily underestimates the true gains from trade relative to autarky. Our quantitative exercise suggests that the bias can be numerically significant. For countries with relatively high tariffs, our formula predicts 30-60% larger gains from trade when iceberg trade costs and/or tariffs are liberalized as compared to a pure reduction of iceberg trade costs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4175.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4175

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Related research

Keywords: gravity equation; monopolistic competition; heterogeneous firms; Armington model; international trade; trade policy; gains from trade;

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References

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  1. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2009. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," NBER Working Papers 15628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Matthieu Crozet & Pamina Koenig, 2007. "Structural gravity equations with intensive and extensive margins," EconomiX Working Papers 2007-36, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  3. Daniel Yi Xu, 2013. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," 2013 Meeting Papers 653, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Neary, J Peter, 1991. "Cost Asymmetries in International Subsidy Games: Should Governments Help Winners or Losers?," CEPR Discussion Papers 560, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Alvarez, Fernando & Lucas, Robert Jr., 2007. "General equilibrium analysis of the Eaton-Kortum model of international trade," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1726-1768, September.
  6. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Svetlana Demidova & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2007. "Trade Policy under Firm-Level Heterogeneity in a Small Economy," NBER Working Papers 13688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Philipp J.H. Schröder & Allan Sørensen, 2011. "A welfare ranking of multilateral reductions in real and tariff trade barriers when firms are heterogenous," Economics Working Papers 2011-18, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  9. Edward J. Balistreri & James R. Markusen, 2007. "Sub-national Differentiation and the Role of the Firm in Optimal International Pricing," NBER Working Papers 13130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Costas Arkolakis & Svetlana Demidova & Peter J. Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2008. "Endogenous Variety and the Gains from Trade," NBER Working Papers 13933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Edward J. Balistreri & Russell H. Hillberry & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2008. "Structural Estimation and Solution of International Trade Models with Heterogeneous Firms," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 08/89, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  12. Gabriel J. Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung & Mario Larch, 2011. "Optimal Tariffs, Retaliation and the Welfare Loss from Tariff Wars in the Melitz Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 3474, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Ralph Ossa, 2012. "Why Trade Matters After All," NBER Working Papers 18113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Chris Edmond, Virgiliu Midrigan, Daniel Yi Xu,, 2012. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1145, The University of Melbourne.
  15. Matthew T Cole, 2011. "Distorted Trade Barriers," Working Papers 201105, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
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Cited by:
  1. Gabriel J. Felbermayr & Mario Larch, 2013. "The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): Potentials, Problems and Perspectives," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 14(2), pages 49-60, 08.
  2. Povilas Lastauskas, 2013. "Europe's Revolving Doors: Import Competition and Endogenous Firm Entry Institutions," Kiel Advanced Studies Working Papers 464, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

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