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Pitfalls in the Theory of International Trade Policy: Concertina Reforms of Tariffs and Subsidies to High Technology Industries

  • J.P. Neary

This paper explores the links between international trade theory and the practice of trade and industrial policy in open economies, with special attention to three areas where theoretical lessons have been misunderstood in policy debates. I argue that the 'concertina rule' for tariff reform justifies reductions in high tariffs, but not moves towards uniformity, and particularly not increases in low tariffs. I show that the basic principles of tariff reform are the same in unilateral, multilateral and customs union contexts. Finally, I show that the theory of strategic trade policy does not justify export subsidies to high-technology industries.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0346.

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Date of creation: May 1997
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0346
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. J. Peter Neary, 1990. "Cost asymmetries in international subsidy games : should governments help winners or losers?," Working Papers 199008, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  2. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1984. "The Fat-Cat Effect, the Puppy-Dog Ploy, and the Lean and Hungry Look," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 361-66, May.
  3. Jonathan Eaton & Gene M. Grossman, 1983. "Optimal Trade and Industrial Policy Under Oligopoly," NBER Working Papers 1236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. D Leahy & J.P. Neary, 1998. "Strategic Trade and Industrial PolicyTowards Dynamic Oligopolies," CEP Discussion Papers dp0409, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. W. E. Diewert & A. H. Turunen-Red & A. D. Woodland, 1989. "Productivity- and Pareto-Improving Changes in Taxes and Tariffs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 199-215.
  6. Dermot Leahy & J. Peter Neary, 1995. "International R&D rivalry and industrial strategy without government commitment," Working Papers 199509, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  7. Anderson, James E & Neary, J Peter, 1992. "Trade Reform with Quotas, Partial Rent Retention, and Tariffs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 57-76, January.
  8. d'ASPREMONT, Claude & JACQUEMIN, Alexis, . "Cooperative and noncooperative R&D in duopoly with spillovers," CORE Discussion Papers RP 823, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 1995. "Public Policy Towards R&D in Oligopolistic Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1243, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1983. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," NBER Working Papers 1192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. James E. Anderson, 1997. "Trade Reform with a Government Budget Constraint," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 348., Boston College Department of Economics.
  12. Tatsuo Hatta, 1977. "A Theory of Piecemeal Policy Recommendations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(1), pages 1-21.
  13. Neary, J Peter & Schweinberger, Albert G, 1984. "Factor Content Functions and the Theory of International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 3, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. D Leahy & J.P. Neary, 1997. "R&D Spillovers and the Case for Industrial Policy in an Open Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0345, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  15. Nicholas Stern, 1986. "A Note on Commodity Taxation: The Choice of Variable and the Slutsky, Hessian and Antonelli Matrices (SHAM)," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(2), pages 293-299.
  16. Neary, J Peter, 1995. "Trade Liberalisation and Shadow Prices in the Presence of Tariffs and Quotas," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(3), pages 531-54, August.
  17. Kemp, Murray C. & Wan, Henry Jr., 1976. "An elementary proposition concerning the formation of customs unions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 95-97, February.
  18. Smith, Alasdair, 1982. "Some simple results on the gains from trade, from growth and from public production," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3-4), pages 215-230, November.
  19. Turunen-Red, Arja H & Woodland, Alan D, 1991. "Strict Pareto-Improving Multilateral Reforms of Tariffs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 1127-52, July.
  20. Sandmo, Agnar, 1974. "A Note on the Structure of Optimal Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 701-06, September.
  21. James A. Brander, 1995. "Strategic Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 5020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Falvey, Rodney E., 1988. "Tariffs, quotas and piecemeal policy reform," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 177-183, August.
  23. James A. Brander & Barbara J. Spencer, 1984. "Export Subsidies and International Market Share Rivalry," NBER Working Papers 1464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Dixit, Avinash K, 1970. "On the Optimum Structure of Commodity Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 295-301, June.
  25. Angus Deaton, 1979. "The Distance Function in Consumer Behaviour with Applications to Index Numbers and Optimal Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(3), pages 391-405.
  26. Rod Falvey, 1994. "Revenue enhancing tariff reform," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 130(1), pages 175-190, March.
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