The dispersion of customs tariffs in France between 1850 and 1913: discrimination in trade policy
This contribution purpose an original and exhaustive measure of customs tariffs dispersion depending on the origin of imported products in France between 1850 and 1913. While a part of this dispersion is the result of a systematic structural effect linked to the compiling of nomenclatures for France’s general trade chart, it nevertheless reveals the existence of direct discriminatory practices applied to certain countries for certain products. The principle of this dispersion of tariffs (which was not specific to France) introduces uncertainty over the strengths of empirical work dealing with the correlation between customs tariffs and growth (the tariff-growth paradox), and over the way in which the theme of effective trade protection has been treated. In our opinion, it should pave the way to work that reintroduces the country dimension into the study of late 19th century commercial policy.
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