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Pitfalls in the Theory of International Trade Policy: Concertina Reforms of Tariffs, and Subsidies to High-Technology Industries

  • Neary, J. P.

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 theorical 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 suggest that the theory of strategic trade policy does not justify subsidies to high-technology industries.

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Paper provided by College Dublin, Department of Political Economy- in its series Papers with number 97/26.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:dublec:97/26
Contact details of provider: Postal: Ireland; University College Dublin, Department of Political Economy, Centre for Economic Research, Belfield, Dublin 4
Phone: +353-1-7067777
Fax: +353-1-283 0068
Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/economics/

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  1. D Leahy & J.P. Neary, 1997. "R&D Spillovers and the Case for Industrial Policy in an Open Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0345, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. 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.
  3. Neary, J Peter, 1995. "Trade Liberalisation and Shadow Prices in the Presence of Tariffs and Quotas," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(3), pages 531-54, August.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. James A. Brander, 1995. "Strategic Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 5020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 1995. "Public Policy Towards R&D in Oligopolistic Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1243, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. James A. Brander & Barbara J. Spencer, 1984. "Export Subsidies and International Market Share Rivalry," NBER Working Papers 1464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1983. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," NBER Working Papers 1192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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).
  12. Neary, James Peter, 1991. "Cost asymmetries in international subsidy games: Should governments help winners or losers?," Discussion Papers, Series II 147, University of Konstanz, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 178 "Internationalization of the Economy".
  13. Sandmo, Agnar, 1974. "A Note on the Structure of Optimal Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 701-06, September.
  14. Rod Falvey, 1994. "Revenue enhancing tariff reform," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 175-190, March.
  15. Eaton, Jonathan & Grossman, Gene M, 1986. "Optimal Trade and Industrial Policy under Oligopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 383-406, May.
  16. Neary, J.P. & Leahy, D., 1998. "Strategic Trade and Industrial Policy Towards Dynamic Oligopolies," Papers 98/14, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  17. Hatta, Tatsuo, 1977. "A Theory of Piecemeal Policy Recommendations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 1-21, February.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Falvey, Rodney E., 1988. "Tariffs, quotas and piecemeal policy reform," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 177-183, August.
  21. Dixit, Avinash K, 1970. "On the Optimum Structure of Commodity Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 295-301, June.
  22. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 1995. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy without Government Commitment," CEPR Discussion Papers 1199, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. James E. Anderson, 1996. "Trade Reform with a Government Budget Constraint," NBER Working Papers 5827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
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