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Optimal Tariffs and Market Power: The Evidence

Listed author(s):
  • Christian Broda
  • Nuno Limao
  • David E. Weinstein

We find that prior to World Trade Organization membership, countries set import tariffs 9 percentage points higher on inelastically supplied imports relative to those supplied elastically. The magnitude of this effect is similar to the size of average tariffs in these countries, and market power explains more of the tariff variation than a commonly used political economy variable. Moreover, US trade restrictions not covered by the WTO are significantly higher on goods where the United States has more market power. We find strong evidence that these importers have market power and use it in setting noncooperative trade policy. (JEL F12, F13)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.98.5.2032
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/dec08/20060147_data.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 98 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 2032-2065

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:5:p:2032-65
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.5.2032
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  1. Gros, Daniel, 1987. "A note on the optimal tariff, retaliation and the welfare loss from tariff wars in a framework with intra-industry trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 357-367, November.
  2. Chang, Won & Winters, L. Alan, 1999. "How Regional Blocs Affect Excluded Countries: The Price Effects of MERCOSUR," CEPR Discussion Papers 2179, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Fernando Alvarez & Robert E. Lucas, 2005. "General Equilibrium Analysis of the Eaton-Kortum Model of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 11764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rose, Andrew K., 2004. "Do WTO members have more liberal trade policy?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 209-235, July.
  5. Bruce E. Hansen, 2000. "Sample Splitting and Threshold Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 575-604, May.
  6. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Networks versus Markets in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 5617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Irwin, Douglas A, 1988. "Welfare Effects of British Free Trade: Debate and Evidence from the 1840s," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1142-1164, December.
  8. Giovanni Maggi & Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, 1999. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1135-1155, December.
  9. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks," Scholarly Articles 3450062, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2011. "What Do Trade Negotiators Negotiate About? Empirical Evidence from the World Trade Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1238-1273, June.
  11. Christian Broda & Nuno Limão & David Weinstein, 2006. "Optimal Tariffs: The Evidence," NBER Working Papers 12033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Markusen, James R & Wigle, Randall M, 1989. "Nash Equilibrium Tariffs for the United States and Canada: The Roles of Country Size, Scale Economies, and Capital Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 368-386, April.
  13. Robert C. Feenstra, 1987. "Symmetric Pass-Through of Tariffs and Exchange Rates Under Imperfect Competition: An Empirical Test," NBER Working Papers 2453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Kishore Gawande & Usree Bandyopadhyay, 2000. "Is Protection for Sale? Evidence on the Grossman-Helpman Theory of Endogenous Protection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 139-152, February.
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