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Protection and the Business Cycle

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  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Robert W. Staiger

Abstract

Empirical studies have repeatedly documented the countercyclical nature of trade barriers. In this paper, we propose a simple theoretical framework that is consistent with this and other empirical regularities in the relationship between protection and the business cycle. We examine the ability of countries to maintain efficiency- enhancing reciprocal trade agreements that control their temptation to resort to beggar-thy-neighbor policies, under the requirement that such agreements are self-enforcing. We find theoretical support for countercyclical movements in protection levels, as the fast growth in trade volume that is associated with a boom phase facilitates the maintenance of more liberal trade policies that can be sustained during a recession phase in which growth is slow. However, we also find that acyclical increases in the level of trade volume give rise to protection, implying that whether rising imports are met with greater liberalization or increased protection depends on whether they are part of a cyclic upward trend in trade volume or an acyclical increase in import levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1995. "Protection and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 5168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5168 Note: ITI
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1994. "Dynamics of the Trade Balance and the Terms of Trade: The J-Curve?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 84-103, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2016. "The Effects of Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 21957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bown, Chad P. & Crowley, Meredith A., 2014. "Emerging economies, trade policy, and macroeconomic shocks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 261-273.
    3. Bown, Chad P. & Crowley, Meredith A., 2013. "Import protection, business cycles, and exchange rates: Evidence from the Great Recession," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 50-64.
    4. Simon P. Anderson & Nicolas Schmitt, 2003. "Nontariff Barriers and Trade Liberalization," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 80-97, January.
    5. repec:eee:inecon:v:109:y:2017:i:c:p:85-101 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Hazel Parcon, 2008. "Disaggregating PTAs at the Role of International Division of Labor on PTA Formation," Working Papers 200806, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    7. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2000. "GATT-Think," NBER Working Papers 8005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Chisik, Richard, 2012. "Trade disputes, quality choice, and economic integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 47-61.
    9. Libman, Alexander & Vinokurov, Evgeny, 2016. "Региональные Организации: Типы И Логика Развития
      [Regional Organizations: Typology and Development Paths]
      ," MPRA Paper 79383, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Pavcnik, Nina, 2017. "The Impact of Trade on Inequality in Developing Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 12331, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Opp, Marcus M., 2010. "Tariff wars in the Ricardian Model with a continuum of goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 212-225, March.
    12. Conconi, Paola & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2005. "Re-election Incentives and the Sustainability of International Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5401, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Liu, Xuan, 2007. "Trade Openness and the Cost of Sudden Stops: The Role of Financial Friction," MPRA Paper 18260, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 26 Oct 2009.
    14. Bagwell,K. & Staiger,R.W., 2004. "Enforcement, private political pressure and the GATT/WTO escape clause," Working papers 23, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    15. Zissimos, Ben, 2017. "A theory of trade policy under dictatorship and democratization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 85-101.
    16. Auboin, Marc & Ruta, Michele, 2013. "The relationship between exchange rates and international trade: a literature review," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 577-605, July.
    17. Lake, James & Linask, Maia K., 2016. "Could tariffs be pro-cyclical?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 124-146.
    18. Eichengreen, Barry & Rose, Andrew, 2014. "Capital Controls in the 21st Century," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(PA), pages 1-16.

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    JEL classification:

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

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