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Inequality and Relative Reliance on Tariffs: Theory and Evidence

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  • Margarita Katsimi
  • Thomas Moutos

Abstract

In this paper we construct a Ricardian model of trade in vertically-differentiated products between a developing country and the (developed) rest of the world. Despite labour being the only factor of production in this model, tariffs (in addition to income taxes) have distributional consequences because the high-quality imported varieties are consumed only by high-income households. The model predicts a U-shaped relationship between income inequality and the median-voter’s preferred reliance on tariffs versus income taxes in order to effect the desired redistribution. Using data from 44 countries we test for the existence of this U-shaped relationship by estimating a cross-sectional regression relating the ratio of the tariff rate over the tax rate to inequality and a set of control variables such as GDP per capita, openness, the degree of democracy and area dummies. We find that the model’s predictions are supported by the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Margarita Katsimi & Thomas Moutos, 2005. "Inequality and Relative Reliance on Tariffs: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 1457, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1457
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Antonis Adam & Margarita Katsimi & Thomas Moutos, 2012. "Inequality and the import demand function," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 675-701, October.
    2. Antonis Adam, 2009. "Fiscal Reliance on Tariff Revenues: In Search of a Political Economy Explanation?," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 610-625, November.
    3. Gonzales-Eiras, Martín & Niepelt, Dirk, 2004. "Sustaining Social Security," Seminar Papers 731, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; tariffs; median-voter; trade; vertical differentiation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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