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Optimal Tariffs, Tariff Jumping, and Heterogeneous Firms

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  • Matthew T. Cole (University College Dublin) Ronald B. Davies (University College Dublin)

Abstract

The majority of research to date investigating strategic tariffs in the presence of multinationals finds a knife-edge result where, in equilibrium, all foreign firms are either multinationals or exporters. Utilizing a model of heterogeneous firms, we find equilibria in which both pure exporters and multinationals coexist. We utilize this model to study the case of endogenously chosen tariffs. As is standard, Nash equilibrium tariffs are higher than the socially optimal tariffs. Unlike existing models with homogeneous firms, we find that non-cooperative tariffs promote the existence of low-productivity firms relative to the socially optimal tariffs. This highlights a new source of inefficiency from tariff competition not found in models of homogeneous firms. In addition, we find that in many cases the Nash equilibrium tariff when FDI is a potential firm structure is lower than when it is not. As a result, FDI improves welfare by mitigating tariff competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew T. Cole (University College Dublin) Ronald B. Davies (University College Dublin), 2009. "Optimal Tariffs, Tariff Jumping, and Heterogeneous Firms," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp302, IIIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp302
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    2. Bauer, Christian & Davies, Ronald B. & Haufler, Andreas, 2014. "Economic integration and the optimal corporate tax structure with heterogeneous firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 42-56.
    3. Ronald Davies & Lourenço Paz, 2011. "Tariffs versus VAT in the presence of heterogeneous firms and an informal sector," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(5), pages 533-554, October.
    4. Pflüger, Michael P. & Russek, Stephan, 2010. "Trade and Industrial Policies with Heterogeneous Firms: The Role of Country Asymmetries," IZA Discussion Papers 5387, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Bauer, Christian J. & Langenmayr, Dominika, 2013. "Sorting into outsourcing: Are profits taxed at a gorilla's arm's length?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 326-336.
    6. Anna Bohnstedt, 2013. "Spillovers from Foreign Exporters," Ruhr Economic Papers 0400, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    7. Contessi, Silvio, 2015. "Multinational firms׳ entry and productivity: Some aggregate implications of firm-level heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 61-80.
    8. de Pinto, Marco & Lingens, Jörg, 2019. "The impact of unionization costs when firm-selection matters," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 50-63.
    9. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Jung, Benjamin & Larch, Mario, 2013. "Optimal tariffs, retaliation, and the welfare loss from tariff wars in the Melitz model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 13-25.
    10. Michael Pflüger & Stephan Russek, 2011. "Trade and Industrial Policies with Heterogeneous Firms: The Role of Country Asymmetries," Working Papers 094, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    11. Bohnstedt, Anna, 2013. "Spillovers from Foreign Exporters," Ruhr Economic Papers 400, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    12. Igor Bagayev & Ronald B. Davies, 2017. "The Impact of Protection on Observed Productivity Distributions," Working Papers 201705, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    13. Lingens, Jörg & De Pinto, Marco & Bauer, Christian, 2016. "The Impact of Organization Costs when Firm-selection Matters," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145620, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    14. Natalya Ayzenberg & Igor Bykadorov & Sergey Kokovin, 2018. "Optimal Reciprocal Import Tariffs Under Variable Elasticity Of Substitution," HSE Working papers WP BRP 204/EC/2018, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    15. Ronald B. Davies & Benjamin H. Liebman & Kasaundra Tomlin, 2015. "I've Been Everywhere (Except Mexico): Investor Responses to NAFTA's Cross-Border Trucking Provisions," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp467, IIIS.

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