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Trade Policy and Redistribution when Preferences are Non-Homothetic

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  • Quy-Toan Do
  • Andrei A. Levchenko

Abstract

We compare redistribution through trade restrictions vs. domestic lump-sum transfers. When preferences are non-homothetic, even domestic lump-sum transfers affect relative prices. Thus, contrary to the conventional wisdom, domestic lump-sum transfers are not necessarily superior to distortionary trade policy. We develop this argument in the context of food export bans imposed by many developing countries in the late 2000s.

Suggested Citation

  • Quy-Toan Do & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2017. "Trade Policy and Redistribution when Preferences are Non-Homothetic," NBER Working Papers 23237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23237
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Glazer, Amihai & Ranjan, Priya, 2007. "Trade protection to reduce redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 790-805, September.
    2. Pablo Fajgelbaum & Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality, and International Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(4), pages 721-765.
    3. Everett E. Hagen, 1958. "An Economic Justification of Protectionism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 496-514.
    4. Pablo D. Fajgelbaum & Amit K. Khandelwal, 2016. "Measuring the Unequal Gains from Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(3), pages 1113-1180.
    5. Rinku Murgai & Martin Ravallion & Dominique van de Walle, 2016. "Is Workfare Cost-effective against Poverty in a Poor Labor-Surplus Economy?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 30(3), pages 413-445.
    6. Porto, Guido G., 2006. "Using survey data to assess the distributional effects of trade policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 140-160, September.
    7. Fajgelbaum, Pablo & Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality, and International Trade," Foerder Institute for Economic Research Working Papers 275739, Tel-Aviv University > Foerder Institute for Economic Research.
    8. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
    9. Pablo D. Fajgelbaum, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality and International Trade," 2011 Meeting Papers 415, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade

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