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The Trade Policy of Argentina, 1870-1913. A Study through Customs Legislation


  • Agustina Rayes


The literature dedicated to the study of Argentine commercial policy during the period 1870-1913 has alternately established it as liberal, protectionist or fiscalist. In this research, we propose to study it mainly from the customs laws - although we also use other dispositions, resolutions and decrees related to the subject. Our hypothesis is that the Argentine trade policy cannot easily be categorized, because it showed both signs of liberalization and protectionism, and fiscal intentions. In effect, sectors with interests, sometimes similar and sometimes dissimilar, influenced the evolution of trade policy. This paper has been divided into four parts. It begins by presenting which the tax-free exports and imports were. It then goes on to observe which products paid export and import duties, what was the weight of customs duties on state revenues, what the average tariff levels were, and what the difference between nominal protection and implicit protection was. In the next section, we present what elements should be studied in order to reach a complete analysis of the commercial policy, which includes the reconstruction of the effective tariffs of the period, both for exports and for imports. Finally, we make a balance (still provisional) based on the main findings of this research.

Suggested Citation

  • Agustina Rayes, 2018. "The Trade Policy of Argentina, 1870-1913. A Study through Customs Legislation," CEH Discussion Papers 06, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:hpaper:067

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    1. Federico, Giovanni & Tena, Antonio, 1991. "On the accuracy of foreign trade statistics (1909-1935): Morgenstern revisited," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 259-273, July.
    2. Douglas A. Irwin, 2001. "Tariffs and Growth in Late Nineteenth Century America," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(1), pages 15-30, January.
    3. Giovanni Federico & Antonio Tena-Junguito, 2016. "World trade, 1800-1938: a new data-set," Working Papers 0093, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    4. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 2001. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 261-338 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:cup:reveco:v:36:y:2018:i:01:p:27-51_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. David N. DeJong & Marla Ripoll, 2006. "Tariffs and Growth: An Empirical Exploration of Contingent Relationships," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 625-640, November.
    7. Michael A. Clemens & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2004. "Why did the Tariff--Growth Correlation Change after 1950?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 5-46, March.
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