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Steepest Ascent Tariff Reforms

  • Woodland, Alan D.

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School)

  • Raimondos-Møller, Pascalis

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School)

This paper introduces the concept of a steepest ascent tariff reform for a small open economy. By construction, it is locally optimal in that it yields the highest gain in utility of any feasible tariff reform vector of the same length. Accordingly, it provides a convenient benchmark for the evaluation of the welfare effectiveness of other well known tariff reform rules, as e.g. the proportional and the concertina rules. We develop the properties of this tariff reform, characterize the sources of the potential welfare gains from tariff reform, use it to establish conditions under which some existing reforms are locally optimal, provide geometric illustrations and compare welfare effectiveness of reforms using numerical examples. Moreover, being a general concept, we apply it to the issue of market access and examine its implications. Overall, the paper’s contribution lies in presenting a theoretical concept where the focus is upon the size of welfare gains accruing from tariff reforms rather than simply with the direction of welfare effects that has been the concern of the literature. JEL code: F15. Keywords: Steepest ascent tariff reforms; piecemeal tariff policy; welfare; market access; small open economy.

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File URL: http://openarchive.cbs.dk/cbsweb/handle/10398/7565
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Paper provided by Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 04-2006.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:cbsnow:2006_004
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Solbjerg Plads 3 C, 5. sal, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Phone: 38 15 25 75
Fax: 38 15 34 99
Web page: http://www.cbs.dk/departments/econ/
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  1. Fukushima, Takashi, 1979. "Tariff Structure, Nontraded Goods and Theory of Piecemeal Policy Recommendations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(2), pages 427-35, June.
  2. Weymark, John A., 1981. "Undominated directions of tax reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 343-369, December.
  3. 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.
  4. Diewert, W. E., 1978. "Optimal tax perturbations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-177, October.
  5. Rod Falvey & Udo Kreickemeier, . "Tariff Reforms with Rigid Wages," Discussion Papers 07/29, University of Nottingham, GEP.
  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. Kee, Hiau Looi & Nicita, Alessandro & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2006. "Estimating trade restrictiveness indices," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3840, The World Bank.
  8. Hatta, Tatsuo, 1977. "A Theory of Piecemeal Policy Recommendations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 1-21, February.
  9. James E Anderson & J Peter Neary, 2004. "Welfare versus Market Access - The Implications of Tariff Structure for Tariff Reform," Working Papers 200423, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  10. Diewert, W E & Turunen-Red, A H & Woodland, A D, 1991. "Tariff Reform in a Small Open Multi-household Economy with Domestic Distortions and Nontraded Goods," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(4), pages 937-57, November.
  11. Hatta, Tatsuo, 1977. "A Recommendation for a Better Tariff Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(8), pages 1859-69, November.
  12. Abe, Kenzo, 1992. "Tariff Reform in a Small Open Economy with Public Production," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(1), pages 209-22, February.
  13. 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.
  14. James E. Anderson & J. Peter Neary, 2005. "Measuring the Restrictiveness of International Trade Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262012200, June.
  15. Lloyd, P. J., 1974. "A more general theory of price distortions in open economies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 365-386, November.
  16. Rod Falvey, 1994. "Revenue enhancing tariff reform," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 175-190, March.
  17. Ju, Jiandong & Krishna, Kala, 2000. "Welfare and market access effects of piecemeal tariff reform," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 305-316, August.
  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. Tirole, J. & Guesnerie, R., 1981. "Tax reform from the gradient projection viewpoint," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 275-293, June.
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