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Can Import Tariffs Deter Outward FDI?

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  • David Collie

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  • Hylke Vandenbussche

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Abstract

In this paper we analyze a country's optimal trade policy when its labor market is unionized and firms are footloose. We show that an important objective for governments to use import protection is to prevent their domestic multinationals to go to a non-unionized location abroad and to serve their country from a distance. A domestic government will set a positive tariff to dissuade its multinational from engaging in outward FDI when the additional profits it repatriates, do not compensate for the loss of domestic union rent. To put it differently, we show that when the domestic labor market is unionized, trade liberalisation between countries with similar wage levels is likely to result in domestic welfare losses as a result of outward FDI. Only when wage differences between countries are large enough, can outward FDI improve domestic welfare and optimal tariffs will be zero. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Suggested Citation

  • David Collie & Hylke Vandenbussche, 2005. "Can Import Tariffs Deter Outward FDI?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 341-362, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:openec:v:16:y:2005:i:4:p:341-362
    DOI: 10.1007/s11079-005-4741-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kjell Erik Lommerud & Frode Meland & Lars S¯rgard, 2003. "Unionised Oligopoly, Trade Liberalisation and Location Choice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(490), pages 782-800, October.
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    6. Haufler, Andreas & Wooton, Ian, 1997. "Tax competition for foreign direct investment," Discussion Papers, Series II 329, University of Konstanz, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 178 "Internationalization of the Economy".
    7. Zhao, Laixun, 1995. "Cross-hauling direct foreign investment and unionized oligopoly," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 1237-1253, June.
    8. Aitken, Brian & Harrison, Ann & Lipsey, Robert E., 1996. "Wages and foreign ownership A comparative study of Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 345-371, May.
    9. Hillman, Arye L & Ursprung, Heinrich W, 1993. "Multinational Firms, Political Competition, and International Trade Policy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(2), pages 347-363, May.
    10. Rowthorn, R E, 1992. "Intra-industry Trade and Investment under Oligopoly: The Role of Market Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(411), pages 402-414, March.
    11. René Belderbos, 1997. "Antidumping and tariff Jumping: Japanese firms’ DFI in the European union and the United States," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 133(3), pages 419-457, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arijit Mukherjee & Kullapat Suetrong, 2012. "Unionisation Structure and Outward Foreign Direct Investment," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 168(2), pages 266-279, June.
    2. Domenico Buccella, 2011. "Labor unions and economic integration: A review," Económica, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, vol. 0, pages 25-89, January-D.

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