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Changes in U.S. Tariffs: Prices or Policies?

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  • Douglas A. Irwin

Abstract

In the century after the Civil War, roughly two-thirds of U.S. dutiable imports were subject to specific duties whose ad valorem equivalent was inversely related to the price level. This paper finds that import price fluctuations easily dominate commercial policies (changes in rates of import duty) in bringing about changes in the average U.S. tariff from 1865-1973. About three-quarters of the post-Smoot Hawley decline in U.S. tariffs, for example, can be attributed to higher import prices, the remainder to negotiated reductions in tariff rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas A. Irwin, 1996. "Changes in U.S. Tariffs: Prices or Policies?," NBER Working Papers 5665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5665
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5665.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Douglas A. Irwin, 1998. "The Smoot-Hawley Tariff: A Quantitative Assessment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 326-334, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Slaughter, 2001. "Does trade liberalization converge factor prices? Evidence from the antebellum transportation revolution," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 339-362.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • N72 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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