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Are Standards Always Protectionist?


  • Stéphan Marette
  • John C. Beghin


We analyze the effects of a domestic standard that reduces an externality associated with the consumption of the good targeted by the standard, using a model in which foreign and domestic producers compete in the domestic good market. Producers can reduce expected damage associated with the externality by incurring a cost that varies by source of origin. Despite potential protectionism, the standard is useful in correcting the consumption externality in the domestic country. Protectionism occurs when the welfare-maximizing domestic standard is higher than the international standard maximizing welfare inclusive of foreign profits. The standard is actually anti-protectionist when foreign producers are much more efficient at addressing the externality than are domestic producers. Possible exclusion of domestic or foreign producers arises with large standards, which may alter the classification of a standard as protectionist or non-protectionist. The paper provides important implications for the estimation and use of tariff equivalents of nontariff barriers.

Suggested Citation

  • Stéphan Marette & John C. Beghin, 2007. "Are Standards Always Protectionist?," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 07-wp450, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:07-wp450

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Das, Satya P. & Donnenfeld, Shabtai, 1989. "Oligopolistic competition and international trade : Quantity and quality restrictions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3-4), pages 299-318, November.
    2. Chengyan Yue & John Beghin & Helen H. Jensen, 2017. "Tariff Equivalent Of Technical Barriers To Trade With Imperfect Substitution And Trade Costs," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Nontariff Measures and International Trade, chapter 9, pages 151-164 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    5. John C. Beghin & Jean-Christophe Bureau, 2017. "Quantitative Policy Analysis Of Sanitary, Phytosanitary And Technical Barriers To Trade," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Nontariff Measures and International Trade, chapter 3, pages 39-62 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    More about this item


    externality; nontariff barriers; protectionism; safety; standard; tariff equivalent.;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations


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