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Are Standards Always Protectionist?


  • Stéphan Marette
  • John Beghin


We analyze the effect of heterogeneity of foreign and domestic producers on product standard and investigate whether the standard chosen by the welfare-maximizing policymaker is protectionist. In a partial-equilibrium set-up, both domestic and foreign producers compete in selling a product in the domestic market, in the presence of consumption externalities. The policymaker chooses a minimum domestic standard that has to be met by both domestic and foreign producers. Protectionism occurs when the welfare-maximizing domestic standard is higher than the international standard maximizing welfare inclusive of foreign profits. We show that the standard is anti-protectionist when foreign producers are much more efficient at addressing the externality than are domestic producers. Possible exclusion of domestic or foreign producers arises with large standards, which may alter the classification of a standard as protectionist or non-protectionist. The paper identifies multiple caveats for the estimation of tariff equivalents of nontariff barriers. Copyright © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Stéphan Marette & John Beghin, 2010. "Are Standards Always Protectionist?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 179-192, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:18:y:2010:i:1:p:179-192

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    10. Bureau, Jean-Christophe & Marette, Stephan & Schiavina, Alessandra, 1998. "Non-tariff Trade Barriers and Consumers' Information: The Case of the EU-US Trade Dispute over Beef," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 437-462.
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    14. Yue, Chengyan & Beghin, John C. & Jensen, Helen H., 2006. "AJAE Appendix: Tariff Equivalent of Technical Barriers to Trade with Imperfect Substitution and Trade Costs," American Journal of Agricultural Economics Appendices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(4), November.
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    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations


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