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The macroeconomic effects of trade tariffs: Revisiting the Lerner symmetry result

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  • Lindé, Jesper
  • Pescatori, Andrea

Abstract

We study the robustness of the Lerner symmetry result in an open economy New Keynesian model with price rigidities. While the Lerner symmetry result, i.e. the absence of allocative and trade-flow effects of an equally-sized change in import tariff and export subsidy, holds up approximately for a number of alternative assumptions, we obtain quantitatively important long-term deviations under complete international asset markets. Direct pass-through of tariffs and subsidies to prices and slow exchange rate adjustment can also generate significant short-term deviations from Lerner. Deviations from symmetry, however, do not necessarily imply an impact on global output and are often limited to a redistribution of production and consumption across countries. Finally, we quantify the macroeconomic costs of a trade war and find that they can be substantial, with permanently lower income and trade volumes. However, a fully symmetric retaliation to an unilaterally imposed border adjustment tax can prevent any sizable adverse real or nominal effects.

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  • Lindé, Jesper & Pescatori, Andrea, 2019. "The macroeconomic effects of trade tariffs: Revisiting the Lerner symmetry result," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 52-69.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:95:y:2019:i:c:p:52-69
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jimonfin.2019.01.019
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    4. Anderson Michael A. & Davies Martin & Signoret Jose E. & Smith Stephen L. S., 2018. "Firm Heterogeneity, Imported Input Quality, and Export Pricing in India," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 18(2), pages 1-12, June.
    5. Matteo Cacciatore, 2013. "Trade, Unemployment, and Monetary Policy," 2013 Meeting Papers 724, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Jacquinot, Pascal & Lozej, Matija & Pisani, Massimiliano, 2020. "Macroeconomic effects of tariffs shocks: the role of the effective lower bound and the labour market," Working Paper Series 2434, European Central Bank.
    7. Bergin, Paul R & Corsetti, Giancarlo, 2020. "The Macroeconomic Stabilization of Tariff Shocks: What is the Optimal Monetary Response?," CEPR Discussion Papers 14556, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    12. Barattieri, Alessandro & Cacciatore, Matteo & Ghironi, Fabio, 2021. "Protectionism and the business cycle," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    13. Agnes Benassy-Quere & Matthieu Bussière & Pauline Wibaux, 2018. "Trade and Currency Weapons," CESifo Working Paper Series 7112, CESifo.
    14. Sascha Tobias Wengerek, 2020. "Share price reactions to tariff imposition announcements in the Trump era - An event study of the trade conflict," Working Papers Dissertations 59, Paderborn University, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.
    15. Omar Barbiero & Emmanuel Farhi & Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki, 2019. "The Macroeconomics of Border Taxes," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 395-457.
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    22. Barry Eichengreen, 2019. "Trade Policy and the Macroeconomy," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 67(1), pages 4-23, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Import tariffs; Export subsidies; Lerner condition; Incomplete markets; Complete markets; Border adjustment tax; Trade war; New Keynesian open-economy model;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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