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Steepest ascent tariff reform

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  • Pascalis Raimondos-Møller
  • Alan Woodland

Abstract

The policy reform literature is primarily concerned with the construction of reforms that yield welfare gains. By contrast, this paper’s contribution is to develop a theoretical concept for which the focus is upon the sizes of welfare gains accruing from policy reforms rather than upon their signs. In undertaking this task, and by focusing on tariff reforms, we introduce the concept of a steepest ascent policy reform, which is a locally optimal reform in the sense that it achieves the highest marginal gain in utility of any feasible local reform. We argue that this reform presents itself as a natural benchmark for the evaluation of the welfare effectiveness of other popular tariff reforms such as the proportional tariff reduction and the concertina rules, since it provides the maximal welfare gain of all possible local reforms. We derive properties of the steepest ascent tariff reform, construct an index to measure the relative welfare effectiveness of any given tariff reform, determine conditions under which proportional and concertina reforms are locally optimal and provide illustrative examples. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Pascalis Raimondos-Møller & Alan Woodland, 2014. "Steepest ascent tariff reform," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 55(1), pages 69-99, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:55:y:2014:i:1:p:69-99
    DOI: 10.1007/s00199-013-0741-7
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    Cited by:

    1. Henrik Barslund Fosse & Pascalis Raimondos‐Møller, 2012. "Reducing Tariffs According to WTO Accession Rules: The Case of Vietnam," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 331-341, May.
    2. Heijdra, Ben J. & Ligthart, Jenny E., 2007. "Fiscal policy, monopolistic competition, and finite lives," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 325-359, January.
    3. Kreickemeier, Udo & Raimondos-Møller, Pascalis, 2008. "Tari[ff]-tax reforms and market access," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 85-91, August.
    4. Raimondos, Pascalis & Woodland, Alan, 2018. "Reciprocity in trade negotiations and welfare," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 134-142.
    5. Raimondos-Møller, Pascalis & Woodland, Alan D., 2015. "Market access and welfare: Is there a conflict?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 163-166.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Piecemeal tariff policy; Locally optimal reforms; D60; F13; H21;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)

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