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Contingent trade policy and economic efficiency

  • Phillip McCALMAN
  • Frank STÄHLER
  • Gerald WILLMANN

This paper develops an efficiency theory of contingent trade policies. We model the competition for a domestic market between one domestic and one foreign firm as a pricing game under incomplete information about production costs. The cost distributions are asymmetric because the foreign firm has to pay a trade cost. We show that the foreign firm prices more aggressively to overcome its cost disadvantage. The resulting possibility of an inefficient allocation justifies the use of contingent trade policy on efficiency grounds. Contingent trade policy that seeks to maximize global welfare can avoid the potential inefficiency. National governments, on the other hand, make excessive use of contingent trade policy due to rent shifting motives. The expected inefficiency of national policy is larger (smaller) for low (high) trade costs compared to the laissez-faire case. In general, there is no clear ranking between the laissez-faire outcome and a contingent national trade policy.

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Paper provided by KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers Department of Economics with number ces11.05.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces11.05
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  1. Henrik Horn & Giovanni Maggi & Robert W. Staiger, 2006. "Trade Agreements as Endogenously Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 12745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Xenia Matschke & Anja Schöttner, 2009. "Antidumping as Strategic Trade Policy Under Asymmetric Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 2536, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Choi, E. Kwan & Harrigan, James, 2003. "Handbook of International Trade," Staff General Research Papers Archive 11375, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Anderson, James E, 1992. "Domino Dumping, I: Competitive Exporters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 65-83, March.
  5. Robert W. Staiger & Frank A. Wolak, 1990. "The Effect of Domestic Antidumping Law in the Presence of Foreign Monopoly," NBER Working Papers 3254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Dobrin R. Kolev & Thomas J. Prusa, 1999. "Dumping and Double Crossing: The (In)Effectiveness of Cost-Based Trade Policy Under Incomplete Information," NBER Working Papers 6986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Miyagiwa, Kaz & Ohno, Yuka, 2007. "Dumping as a signal of innovation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 221-240, March.
  8. Ronald D. Fischer & Thomas J. Prusa, 2003. "WTO Exceptions as Insurance," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(5), pages 745-757, November.
  9. Richard Chisik, 2010. "Gradualism in Free Trade Agreements: A Theoretical Justification," Working Papers 018, Ryerson University, Department of Economics.
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