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The fiscal impact of the War of the Pacific

  • Richard Sicotte

    ()

    (University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA)

  • Catalina Vizcarra

    ()

    (University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA)

  • Kirsten Wandschneider

    ()

    (Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA, USA)

In the War of the Pacific (1879–1883), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia, and acquired territories that contained vast deposits of sodium nitrate, a leading fertilizer. Chile’s export tax on nitrates later accounted for at least one half of all government revenue. We employ a multi-country model of export taxation in order to simulate the potential government revenues that Bolivia, Chile and Peru could have earned under the counterfactual scenario that Chile did not conquer the nitrate-rich provinces of its adversaries. Our results are that Peruvian and Bolivian government revenues could have been at least double their historical levels. We estimate that, over the remainder of the nineteenth century, Chile’s earnings from nitrates would have fallen by 80%.

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Article provided by Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) in its journal Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History.

Volume (Year): 3 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 97-121

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Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:3:y:2009:i:2:p:97-121
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  1. José Díaz & Gert Wagner, 2004. "Política Comercial: Instrumentos y Antecedentes. Chile en los Siglos XIX y XX," Documentos de Trabajo 223, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  2. Panagariya, Arvind & Schiff, Maurice, 1994. "Can revenue maximizing export taxes yield higher welfare than welfare maximizing export taxes?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 79-84, May.
  3. Robinson, James A. & Torvik, Ragnar & Verdier, Thierry, 2006. "Political foundations of the resource curse," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 447-468, April.
  4. Kamil Yilmaz, 2006. "How much should primary commodity exports be taxed? Nash and Stackelberg equilibria in the Global Cocoa Market," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 1-26.
  5. Yilmaz, Kamil, 1999. "Optimal export taxes in a multicountry framework," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 439-465, December.
  6. John H. Coatsworth & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2002. "The Roots of Latin American Protectionism: Looking Before the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 8999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Juan Braun-Llona & Matías Braun-Llona & Ignacio Briones & José Díaz & Rolf Lüders & Gert Wagner, . "Economía Chilena 1810-1995. Estadísticas Históricas," Documentos de Trabajo 187, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  8. Gert Wagner, . "Trabajo, Producción y Crecimiento, la Economía Chilena 1860-1930," Documentos de Trabajo 150, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
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