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On the Political Substitutability between Tariffs and Subsidies

Author

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  • Daniel Brou
  • Michele Ruta

Abstract

This paper provides a simple model that highlights the political substitutability between import tariffs and production subsidies.1 When taxes are distortionary, political pressures by domestic interest groups representing the import competing sector induce the government to set inefficiently high tariffs and subsidies. If the government commits the tariff to a lower level - for instance by signing a binding commitment in a trade agreement - interest groups demand (and in the political equilibrium obtain) a larger production subsidy. This political substitutability between tariffs and subsidies is shown to reduce social welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Brou & Michele Ruta, 2009. "On the Political Substitutability between Tariffs and Subsidies," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 145(IV), pages 405-410, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:2009-iv-3
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    File URL: http://www.sjes.ch/papers/2009-IV-3.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brou Daniel & Ruta Michele, 2013. "A Commitment Theory of Subsidy Agreements," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 239-270, May.
    2. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    3. Matschke, Xenia, 2008. "Costly revenue-raising and the case for favoring import-competing industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 143-157, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brou Daniel & Ruta Michele, 2013. "A Commitment Theory of Subsidy Agreements," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 239-270, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tariffs; subsidies; lobbying; trade agreements;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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