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The Mercantilist Index of Trade Policy

  • James E. Anderson
  • J. Peter Neary

We introduce an index of trade policy restrictiveness defined as the uniform tariff that maintains the same trade volume as a given tariff/quota structure. Our index overcomes the problems of the trade-weighted average tariff: It avoids substitution bias, correctly accounts for general equilibrium transfers, and takes import volume instead of welfare as benchmark. Empirical applications to international cross section and time-series comparisons of trade policy confirm our theoretical results: Trade-weighted average tariffs generally underestimate the true height of tariffs as measured by the trade-volume-equivalent index; this in turn always underestimates the welfare-equivalent index. Copyright 2003 By The Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

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Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 44 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (05)
Pages: 627-649

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:44:y:2003:i:2:p:627-649
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  1. J. P. Neary (ed.), 1995. "International Trade," Books, Edward Elgar, volume 0, number 575, March.
  2. Anderson, James E., 1992. "Tariff index theory," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1023, The World Bank.
  3. Feenstra, R.C., 1995. "Estimating the Effects of Trade Policy," Papers 95-10, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  4. Hatta, Tatsuo, 1977. "A Theory of Piecemeal Policy Recommendations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 1-21, February.
  5. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994. "Technology and Trade," NBER Working Papers 4926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Neary, J. P., 1997. "Pitfalls in the Theory of International Trade Policy: Concertina Reforms of Tariffs, and Subsidies to High-Technology Industries," Papers 97/26, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  7. Robert W. Staiger & Kyle Bagwell, 1999. "An Economic Theory of GATT," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 215-248, March.
  8. Pritchett, Lant & Sethi, Geeta, 1993. "Tariff rates, tariff revenue, and tariff reform : some new facts," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1143, The World Bank.
  9. Anderson, James E & Bannister, Geoffrey J & Neary, J Peter, 1995. "Domestic Distortions and International Trade," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(1), pages 139-57, February.
  10. Anderson, James E. & Neary, J. Peter, 1992. "A new approach to evaluating trade policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1022, The World Bank.
  11. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1998. "The Mercantilist Index of Trade Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2044, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Neary, J Peter & Schweinberger, Albert G, 1986. "Factor Content Functions and the Theory of International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 421-32, July.
  13. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen & Douglas A. Irwin, 1999. "Is Globalization Today Really Different than Globalization a Hunderd Years Ago?," NBER Working Papers 7195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Randi Boorstein & Robert C. Feenstra, 1987. "Quality Upgrading and its Welfare Cost in U.S. Steel Imports, 1969-74," NBER Working Papers 2452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Aw, Bee Yan & Roberts, Mark J., 1986. "Measuring quality change in quota-constrained import markets: The Case of U.S. Footwear," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 45-60, August.
  16. David Cox & Richard Harris, 1983. "Trade Liberalization and Industrial Organization: Some Estimates for Canada," Working Papers 523, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  17. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Measuring outward orientation in LDCs: Can it be done?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 307-335, May.
  18. O'Rourke, Kevin H., 1997. "Measuring protection: a cautionary tale," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 169-183, June.
  19. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1992. "Trade Reform with Quotas, Partial Rent Retention, and Tariffs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 57-76, January.
  20. James Anderson, 1995. "Trade Restrictiveness Benchmarks," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 290., Boston College Department of Economics.
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