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Strategic Export Subsidies and Reciprocal Trade Agreements: The Natural Monopoly Case

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  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Robert W. Staiger

Abstract

Why do governments seek restrictions on the use of export subsidies through reciprocal trade agreements such as GATT? With existing arguments, it is possible to understand GATT's restrictions on export subsidies as representing an inefficient victory of the interests of exporting governments over the interests of importing governments. However, to our knowledge, there does not exist a formal theoretical treatment that provides circumstances under which GATT's restrictions on export subsidies can be given a world-wide efficiency rationale. In this paper, we offer one such treatment in the context of a natural monopoly market. We emphasize that subsidy competition between governments can serve to coordinate the entry decisions of firms, finding that consumers in the importing countries may suffer if the coordination afforded exporters by government subsidy programs does more to prevent entry than to promote it. In such circumstances, we show that the existence of export subsidy programs can lead to inefficiencies, and importing countries and the world as a whole can be better off when such programs are banned.

Suggested Citation

  • Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1996. "Strategic Export Subsidies and Reciprocal Trade Agreements: The Natural Monopoly Case," NBER Working Papers 5574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5574
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bagwell, K. & Staiger, R.W., 1996. "Reciprocal Trade Liberalization," Working papers 9602, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    2. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-659, September.
    3. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W, 1992. "The Sensitivity of Strategic and Corrective R&D Policy in Battles for Monopoly," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(4), pages 795-816, November.
    4. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1983. "International R & D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 707-722.
    5. Jonathan Eaton & Gene M. Grossman, 1986. "Optimal Trade and Industrial Policy Under Oligopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 383-406.
    6. Bagwell, Kyle & Ramey, Garey, 1994. "Coordination Economies, Advertising, and Search Behavior in Retail Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 498-517, June.
    7. Brander, James A. & Spencer, Barbara J., 1985. "Export subsidies and international market share rivalry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 83-100, February.
    8. Dixit, Avinash K & Kyle, Albert S, 1985. "The Use of Protection and Subsidies for Entry Promotion and Deterrence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 139-152, March.
    9. Maggi, Giovanni, 1996. "Strategic Trade Policies with Endogenous Mode of Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 237-258, March.
    10. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-92-1 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2001. "Strategic Trade, Competitive Industries and Agricultural Trade Disputes," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 113-128, July.
    2. Uwe Dulleck, 2005. "WTO's Anti-dumping Rule and the Protection of Incumbents," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 229-239.
    3. Steffen Huck & Kai A. Konrad & Wieland Müller, 2000. "Merger in Contests," CESifo Working Paper Series 241, CESifo Group Munich.
      • Huck, Steffen & Konrad, Kai A. & Müller, Wieland, 2000. "Merger in contests," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2000,3, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    4. Desai, Mihir A. & Hines Jr., James R., 2008. "Market reactions to export subsidies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 459-474, March.
    5. Jost, Peter-J. & van der Velden, Claus, 2008. "Organizational design of R&D after mergers and the role of budget responsibility," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 469-484.
    6. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W., 2001. "Reciprocity, non-discrimination and preferential agreements in the multilateral trading system," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 281-325, June.
    7. Jost, Peter-J., 2011. "Joint ventures in patent contests with spillovers and the role of strategic budgeting," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 63(6), pages 605-637.
    8. Bagwell,K. & Staiger,R.W., 2004. "Subsidy agreements," Working papers 1, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    9. David Collie, 2000. "A Rationale for the WTO Prohibition of Export Subsidies: Strategic Export Subsidies and World Welfare," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 229-245, July.
    10. Conconi, Paola, 2000. "Trade Bloc Formation Under Imperfect Competition," Economic Research Papers 269342, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
    11. Konrad, Kai A., 2000. "Trade contests," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 317-334, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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