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Could tariffs be pro-cyclical?

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  • Lake, James
  • Linask, Maia K.

Abstract

Conventional wisdom says that tariffs are counter-cyclical. We analyze the relationship between business cycles and applied MFN tariffs using a disaggregated product-level panel dataset covering 72 countries between 2000 and 2011. Strikingly, and counter to conventional wisdom, we find that tariffs are pro-cyclical. Further investigation reveals that this pro-cyclicality is driven by the tariff setting behavior of developing countries; tariffs are acyclical in developed countries. We present evidence that pro-cyclical market power drives the pro-cyclicality of tariffs in developing countries, providing further evidence of the importance of terms of trade motivations in explaining trade policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Lake, James & Linask, Maia K., 2016. "Could tariffs be pro-cyclical?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 124-146.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:103:y:2016:i:c:p:124-146
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2016.09.007
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    1. repec:bla:ecorec:v:94:y:2018:i:307:p:391-404 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Applied tariff; Business cycle; Terms of trade; Market power;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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