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Can import tariffs deter outward FDI?

Listed author(s):
  • COLLIE, David R.
  • VANDENBUSSCHE, Hylke

In this paper we analyze a country's optimal trade policy when its labor market is unionized and firms are footloose. We show that an important objective for governments to use import protection is to prevent their domestic multinationals to go to a non-unionized location abroad and to serve their country from a distance. A domestic government will set a positive tariff to dissuade its multinational from engaging in outward FDI when the additional profits it repatriates, do not compensate for the loss of domestic union rent. To put it differently, we show that when the domestic labor market is unionized, trade liberalisation between countries with similar wage levels is likely to result in domestic welfare losses as a result of outward FDI. Only when wage differences between countries are large enough, can outward FDI improve domestic welfare and optimal tariffs will be zero. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11079-005-4741-5
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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number 1907.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:1907
Note: In : Open Economies Review, 16, 341-362, 2005
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  1. Aitken, Brian & Harrison, Ann & Lipsey, Robert E., 1996. "Wages and foreign ownership A comparative study of Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 345-371, May.
  2. Mezzetti, Claudio & Dinopoulos, Elias, 1991. "Domestic unionization and import competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 79-100, August.
  3. Kjell Erik Lommerud & Frode Meland & Lars S¯rgard, 2003. "Unionised Oligopoly, Trade Liberalisation and Location Choice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(490), pages 782-800, October.
  4. Feenstra, Robert C & Hanson, Gordon H, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 240-245, May.
  5. Matthew J. Slaughter, 1995. "Multinational Corporations, Outsourcing, and American Wage Divergence," NBER Working Papers 5253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Naylor, Robin, 1999. "Union Wage Strategies and International Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 102-125, January.
  7. Hillman, Arye L & Ursprung, Heinrich W, 1993. "Multinational Firms, Political Competition, and International Trade Policy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(2), pages 347-363, May.
  8. Haufler, Andreas & Wooton, Ian, 1997. "Tax competition for foreign direct investment," Discussion Papers, Series II 329, University of Konstanz, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 178 "Internationalization of the Economy".
  9. Zhao, Laixun, 1995. "Cross-hauling direct foreign investment and unionized oligopoly," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 1237-1253, June.
  10. Rowthorn, R E, 1992. "Intra-industry Trade and Investment under Oligopoly: The Role of Market Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(411), pages 402-414, March.
  11. René Belderbos, 1997. "Antidumping and tariff Jumping: Japanese firms’ DFI in the European union and the United States," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 133(3), pages 419-457, September.
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