IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Non-Equivalence of Import Tariffs and Export Taxes in Trade Wars: Ad Valorem vs Specific Trade Taxes




Using perfectly competitive, general equilibrium models of international trade, specific import tariffs, specific export taxes, and ad valorem trade taxes are compared in a trade war. A trade war is modelled as a NE in trade policies, where each country can choose to use ad valorem trade taxes (import tariffs or export taxes, which are equivalent), or specific import tariffs, or specific export taxes. In the two-country case, where there is a negative terms of trade externality a specific export tax dominates a specific import tariff or ad valorem trade taxes. Hence, the Lerner Symmetry Theorem does not hold for specific trade taxes in a trade war. This result continues to hold when the model is extended to the case of many countries assuming that there is a negative terms of trade externality. In a trade policy game where two countries export the same good so there is a positive terms of trade externality in the trade policy game between these two countries, the results are reversed with a specific import tariff dominating a specific export tax or ad valorem trade taxes. Hence, again the Lerner Symmetry Theorem does not hold for specific trade taxes in a trade war.

Suggested Citation

  • Azacis, Helmuts & Collie, David R., 2020. "The Non-Equivalence of Import Tariffs and Export Taxes in Trade Wars: Ad Valorem vs Specific Trade Taxes," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2020/11, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdf:wpaper:2020/11

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Ad Valorem Trade Tax; Specific Trade Tax; Perfect Competition; General Equilibrium; NE in Trade Taxes; Lerner Symmetry Theorem.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdf:wpaper:2020/11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Yongdeng Xu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.