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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. James E. Anderson, 1996. "Trade Reform with a Government Budget Constraint," NBER Working Papers 5827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. D Leahy & J.P. Neary, 1998. "Strategic Trade and Industrial PolicyTowards Dynamic Oligopolies," CEP Discussion Papers dp0409, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Neary, J Peter, 1991. "Cost Asymmetries in International Subsidy Games: Should Governments Help Winners or Losers?," CEPR Discussion Papers 560, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 1997. "Public Policy towards R&D in Oligopolistic Industries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 642-62, September.
  5. Brander, James A., 1995. "Strategic trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1395-1455 Elsevier.
  6. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1982. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," Working Papers 518, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  7. Jonathan Eaton & Gene M. Grossman, 1983. "Optimal Trade and Industrial Policy Under Oligopoly," NBER Working Papers 1236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Neary, J Peter & Schweinberger, Albert G, 1986. "Factor Content Functions and the Theory of International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 421-32, July.
  9. D. Leahy & J. P. Neary, 1997. "R&D spillovers and the case for industrial policy in an open economy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20342, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. 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).
  11. Stern, Nicholas, 1986. "A Note on Commodity Taxation: The Choice of Variable and the Slutsky, Hessian and Antonelli Matrices (SHAM)," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 293-99, April.
  12. Diewert, W E & Turunen-Red, A H & Woodland, A D, 1989. "Productivity- and Pareto-Improving Changes in Taxes and Tariffs," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 199-215, April.
  13. Falvey, Rodney E., 1988. "Tariffs, quotas and piecemeal policy reform," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 177-183, August.
  14. Brander, James A. & Spencer, Barbara J., 1985. "Export subsidies and international market share rivalry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 83-100, February.
  15. Sandmo, Agnar, 1974. "A Note on the Structure of Optimal Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 701-06, September.
  16. 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.
  17. Neary, J Peter, 1989. "Trade Liberalization and Shadow Prices in the Presence of Tariffs and Quotas," CEPR Discussion Papers 345, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Dixit, Avinash K, 1970. "On the Optimum Structure of Commodity Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 295-301, June.
  19. Deaton, Angus, 1979. "The Distance Function in Consumer Behaviour with Applications to Index Numbers and Optimal Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 391-405, July.
  20. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 1996. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy without Government Commitment," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 322-38, October.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Hatta, Tatsuo, 1977. "A Theory of Piecemeal Policy Recommendations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 1-21, February.
  25. Rod Falvey, 1994. "Revenue enhancing tariff reform," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 175-190, March.
  26. 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.
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