New Goods, Old Theory, and the Welfare Costs of Trade Restrictions
The typical economic model implicitly assumes that the set of goods in an economy never changes. As a result, the predicted efficiency loss from a tariff is small, on the order of the square of the tariff rate. If we loosen this assumption and assume that international trade can bring new goods into an economy, the fraction of national income lost when a tariff is imposed can be much larger, as much as two times the tariff rate. Much of this paper is devoted to explaining why this seemingly small change in the assumptions of a model can have such important positive and normative implications. The paper also asks why the implications of new goods have not been more extensively explored, especially given that the basic economic issues were identified more than 150 years ago. The mathematical difficulty of modeling new goods has no doubt been part of the problem. An equally, if not more important stumbling block has been the deep philosophical resistance that humans feel toward the unavoidable logical consequence of assuming that genuinely new things can happen at every juncture: the world as we know it is the result of a long string of chance outcomes.
|Date of creation:||Sep 1993|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Journal of Development Economics Vol. 43, pp. 5-38, 1994|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Rebelo, Sergio, 1991.
"Long-Run Policy Analysis and Long-Run Growth,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 500-521, June.
- Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1991.
"Quality Ladders in the Theory of Growth,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 43-61, January.
- Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Quality Ladders in the Theory of Growth," NBER Working Papers 3099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1989. "Quality Ledders In The Theory Of Growth," Papers 148, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
- Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989.
"A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction,"
527, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Romer, Paul M, 1986.
"Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
- Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
- Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132.
- David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
- Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975.
"Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity,"
The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS)
64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
- Robert C. Feenstra, 1992. "How Costly Is Protectionism?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 159-178, Summer.
- Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1990.
"Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth,"
NBER Working Papers
3528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4452. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.