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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. 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.
  2. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 675-708, August.
  3. Bruce E. Hansen, 2000. "Sample Splitting and Threshold Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 575-604, May.
  4. Christian Broda & N. Limao & D. Weinstein, 2006. "Optimal Tariffs: The Evidence," 2006 Meeting Papers 381, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. 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.
  6. Rose, Andrew K., 2004. "Do WTO members have more liberal trade policy?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 209-235, July.
  7. Feenstra, Robert C., 1989. "Symmetric pass-through of tariffs and exchange rates under imperfect competition: An empirical test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 25-45, August.
  8. Won Chang & L. Alan Winters, 2002. "How Regional Blocs Affect Excluded Countries: The Price Effects of MERCOSUR," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 889-904, September.
  9. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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