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Did US safeguards resuscitate Harley-Davidson in the 1980s?


  • Kitano, Taiju
  • Ohashi, Hiroshi


This paper examines US safeguards applied to the motorcycle market in the 1980s. After receiving temporary protection by means of a maximum tariff of over 45%, Harley-Davidson sales recovered dramatically. Simulations, based on structural demand and supply estimates, indicate that while safeguard tariffs did benefit Harley-Davidson, they only account for a fraction of its increased sales. This is primarily because consumers perceived that Harley-Davidson and Japanese large motorcycles were poorly matched substitutes for each other. Our results provide little evidence that safeguard provisions triggered restructuring in Harley-Davidson.

Suggested Citation

  • Kitano, Taiju & Ohashi, Hiroshi, 2009. "Did US safeguards resuscitate Harley-Davidson in the 1980s?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 186-197, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:79:y:2009:i:2:p:186-197

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James Levinsohn & Steven Berry & Ariel Pakes, 1999. "Voluntary Export Restraints on Automobiles: Evaluating a Trade Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 400-430, June.
    2. Irene Brambilla, 2005. "A Customs Union with Multinational Firms: The Automobile Market in Argentina and Brazil," NBER Working Papers 11745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    5. Aviv Nevo, 2000. "A Practitioner's Guide to Estimation of Random-Coefficients Logit Models of Demand," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(4), pages 513-548, December.
    6. Kelly, Kenneth, 1988. "The Analysis of Causality in Escape Clause Cases," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(2), pages 187-207, December.
    7. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
    8. Pakes, Ariel & Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James A, 1993. "Applications and Limitations of Some Recent Advances in Empirical Industrial Organization: Price Indexes and the Analysis of Environmental Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 241-246, May.
    9. Clerides, Sofronis, 2008. "Gains from trade in used goods: Evidence from automobiles," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 322-336, December.
    10. Miyagiwa, Kaz & Ohno, Yuka, 1999. "Credibility of Protection and Incentives to Innovate," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(1), pages 143-163, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Deborah L. Swenson, 2012. "The Influence of Chinese Trade Policy on Automobile Assembly and Parts," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 58(4), pages 703-730, December.
    2. Jan De Loecker & Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2016. "Effect of International Competition on Firm Productivity and Market Power," NBER Working Papers 21994, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.


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