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Optimal Tariffs, Retaliation and the Welfare Loss from Tariff Wars in the Melitz Model

Author

Listed:
  • Gabriel Felbermayr
  • Benjamin Jung
  • Mario Larch
  • Gabriel J. Felbermayr

Abstract

This paper characterizes analytically the optimal tariff of a large one-sector economy with monopolistic competition and firm heterogeneity in general equilibrium, thereby extending the small-country results of Demidova and Rodriguez-Clare (JIE, 2009) and the homogeneous firms framework of Gros (JIE, 1987). The optimal tariff internalizes a markup distortion and a terms of trade externality. It is larger the higher the dispersion of firm-level productivities, and the bigger the country's relative size or relative average productivity. Furthermore, in the two-country Nash equilibrium, tariffs turn out to be strategic substitutes. Small or poor economies set lower Nash tariffs than large or rich ones. Lower transportation costs or smaller fixed market entry costs induce higher equilibrium tariffs and larger welfare losses relative to the case of zero tariffs. Similarly, cross-country productivity or size convergence increases the global welfare loss due to non-cooperative tariff policies. These results suggest that post WWII trends have increased the relative merits of the WTO.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriel Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung & Mario Larch & Gabriel J. Felbermayr, 2011. "Optimal Tariffs, Retaliation and the Welfare Loss from Tariff Wars in the Melitz Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 3474, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3474
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp3474.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gabriel Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung, 2011. "Sorting It Out: Technical Barriers to Trade and Industry Productivity," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 93-117, February.
    2. Christian Broda & N. Limao & D. Weinstein, 2006. "Optimal Tariffs: The Evidence," 2006 Meeting Papers 381, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Subramanian, Arvind & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2007. "The WTO promotes trade, strongly but unevenly," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 151-175, May.
    4. Benjamin Jung, 2012. "Optimal fixed cost subsidies in Melitz-type models," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 39(1), pages 87-108, February.
    5. Andrew K. Rose, 2004. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 98-114, March.
    6. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W., 2015. "Delocation and trade agreements in imperfectly competitive markets," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 132-156.
    7. Demidova, Svetlana & Rodríguez-Clare, Andrés, 2009. "Trade policy under firm-level heterogeneity in a small economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 100-112, June.
    8. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2012. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 94-130, February.
    9. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
    10. Pflüger, Michael & Suedekum, Jens, 2013. "Subsidizing firm entry in open economies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 258-271.
    11. Matthew T. Cole & Ronald B. Davies, 2009. "Optimal tariffs, tariff jumping, and heterogeneous firms," Working Papers 200919, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    12. Philipp J. H. Schröder & Allan Sørensen, 2014. "A Welfare Ranking of Multilateral Reductions in Real and Tariff Trade Barriers when Firms are Heterogenous," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 423-443, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fabrice Defever & Alejandro Riaño, 2012. "China's Pure Exporter Subsidies," CEP Discussion Papers dp1182, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Gabriel Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung & Gabriel J. Felbermayr, 2011. "Home Market Effects and the Single-Sector Melitz Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 3695, CESifo.
    3. Gabriel Felbermayr & Benjamin Jung, 2012. "Unilateral Trade Liberalization in the Melitz Model: A Note," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(2), pages 1724-1730.
    4. Arnaud Costinot & Dave Donaldson & Jonathan Vogel & Iván Werning, 2015. "Comparative Advantage and Optimal Trade Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(2), pages 659-702.
    5. Costinot, Arnaud & Rodríguez-Clare, Andrés, 2014. "Trade Theory with Numbers: Quantifying the Consequences of Globalization," Handbook of International Economics, in: Gopinath, G. & Helpman, . & Rogoff, K. (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 197-261, Elsevier.
    6. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Jung, Benjamin & Larch, Mario, 2013. "Icebergs versus tariffs: A quantitative perspective on the gains from trade," University of Tübingen Working Papers in Business and Economics 53, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, School of Business and Economics.
    7. Mario Larch & Wolfgang Lechthaler, 2013. "Whom to send to Doha? The Short-sighted Ones!," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 634-649, October.
    8. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Jung, Benjamin & Larch, Mario, 2012. "Tariffs and welfare in new trade theory models," University of Tübingen Working Papers in Business and Economics 41, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, School of Business and Economics.
    9. Philipp J. H. Schröder & Allan Sørensen, 2014. "A Welfare Ranking of Multilateral Reductions in Real and Tariff Trade Barriers when Firms are Heterogenous," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 423-443, August.
    10. Felbermayr, Gabriel J. & Larch, Mario & Lechthaler, Wolfgang, 2012. "Endogenous labor market institutions in an open economy," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 30-45.
    11. Jasmin Katrin Gröschl, 2012. "Neuer Protektionismus – Gefahren für den Freihandel," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 65(15), pages 35-39, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    optimal tariffs; retaliation; tariff wars; heterogeneous firms; World Trade Organization; Nash equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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