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Auctioning U.S. Import Quotas, Foreign Response, and Alternative Policies


  • Robert C. Feenstra


In this paper we quantify the potential revenue available to the U.S. from auctioning import quotas, and the resulting drop in foreign producer surplus relative to free trade. Previous estimates of auction revenue are in the range of $3 7-5.15 billion for 1986 or 1987. Using simulation results from computable partial or general equilibrium models, we find that this revenue gain would be at the expense of a large drop in foreign producer surplus. Ignoring textiles and apparel, the potential auction revenue is $1 3-2.15 billion, and the foreign loss is $0.5-O.7 billion relative to free trade. One alternative to auction quotas is a system of tariff-rate quotas, which are designed to keep supplier countries welfare equal to that in free trade. We calculate that the tariff-rate quotas could raise $067-1.55 billion in revenue for the U.S. While this amount is less than available through auction quotas, it could still fund a significant program of worker adjustment, and would mitigate the foreign response.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert C. Feenstra, 1989. "Auctioning U.S. Import Quotas, Foreign Response, and Alternative Policies," NBER Working Papers 2839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2839
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert C. Feenstra & Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 1982. "Tariff Seeking and the Efficient Tariff," NBER Chapters,in: Import Competition and Response, pages 245-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Trela, I. & Whalley, J., 1988. "Do Developing Countries Lose From The Mfa?," University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations Working Papers 8804c, University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations.
    3. Paul Krugman, 1986. "Strategic Trade Policy and the New International Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262610450, January.
    4. Robert C. Feenstra & Tracy R. Lewis, 1991. "Negotiated Trade Restrictions with Private Political Pressure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1287-1307.
    5. Haynes, Stephen E & Stone, Joe A, 1983. "Specification of Supply Behavior in International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 626-632, November.
    6. repec:wsi:wschap:9789814749589_0002 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Brown, Drusilla K., 1987. "Tariffs, the terms of trade, and national product differentiation," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 503-526.
    8. Morris Goldstein & Mohsin S. Khan, 2017. "The Supply and Demand for Exports: A Simultaneous Approach," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: TRADE CURRENCIES AND FINANCE, chapter 2, pages 83-104 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    9. repec:wsi:wschap:9789813108448_0025 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kala Krishna, 1988. "The Case of the Vanishing Revenues: Auction Quotas With Oligopoly," NBER Working Papers 2723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. David G. Tarr, 2017. "Effects of Restraining Steel Exports from the Republic of Korea and Other Countries to the United States and the European Economic Community," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Trade Policies for Development and Transition, chapter 25, pages 595-616 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    12. Gwo-Jiun M. Leu & Andrew Schmitz & Ronald D. Knutson, 1987. "Gains and Losses of Sugar Program Policy Options," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 69(3), pages 591-602.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kala Krishna, 1990. "Making Altruism Pay in Auction Quotas," NBER Working Papers 3230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. McCorriston, Steve & Sheldon, Ian M., 1992. "Selling Import Quota Licenses: The U.S. Cheese Case," Occasional Papers 233091, Regional Research Project NC-194: Organization and Performance of World Food Systems.

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