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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
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  1. Brander, James A. & Spencer, Barbara J., 1985. "Export subsidies and international market share rivalry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 83-100, February.
  2. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 1997. "Public Policy towards R&D in Oligopolistic Industries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 642-62, September.
  3. 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.
  4. Dixit, Avinash K, 1970. "On the Optimum Structure of Commodity Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 295-301, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Falvey, Rodney E., 1988. "Tariffs, quotas and piecemeal policy reform," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 177-183, August.
  7. 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.
  8. Brander, James A., 1995. "Strategic trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1395-1455 Elsevier.
  9. 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".
  10. 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.
  11. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1983. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," NBER Working Papers 1192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Jonathan Eaton & Gene M. Grossman, 1983. "Optimal Trade and Industrial Policy Under Oligopoly," NBER Working Papers 1236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 1998. "Strategic Trade and Industrial Policy Towards Dynamic Oligopolies," CEPR Discussion Papers 1968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. James E. Anderson, 1996. "Trade Reform with a Government Budget Constraint," NBER Working Papers 5827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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).
  18. 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.
  19. Hatta, Tatsuo, 1977. "A Theory of Piecemeal Policy Recommendations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 1-21, February.
  20. 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.
  21. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 1999. "R&D Spillovers and the Case for Industrial Policy in an Open Economy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 40-59, January.
  22. Sandmo, Agnar, 1974. "A Note on the Structure of Optimal Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 701-06, September.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Rod Falvey, 1994. "Revenue enhancing tariff reform," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 175-190, March.
  26. 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.
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