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Trade Reform with a Government Budget Constraint

  • James E. Anderson

The standard theory of trade reform uses a passive government budget constraint, in which changes in tariff revenue are offset by changes in lump sum transfers. This paper offers a general framework for the analysis of trade reform when the government budget constraint is active, meaning that tariff revenue cuts must be offset by distortionary fiscal policy changes --- public good supply cuts or alternative tax increases. Useful and simple new expressions characterizing welfare improving trade reform compare the Marginal Cost of Funds (MCF) of trade taxes with the MCF of consumption taxes. The MCF expressions provide an intuitive index number which is operational with Computable General Equilibrium models. The theoretical analysis and an application to Korean data in 1963 both cast doubt on the desirability of tariff cuts in convex competitive economies with active government budget constraints.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5827.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5827.

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Date of creation: Nov 1996
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Publication status: published as in Trade Policy and the Pacific Rim, J.Piggott and A.Woodland, eds., MacMilan for the IEA, 1999.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5827
Note: ITI
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  2. Anderson, James E. & Young, Leslie, 1992. "Optimal taxation and debt in an open economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 27-57, February.
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  8. Lopez, Ramon & Panagariya, Arvind, 1992. "On the Theory of Piecemeal Tariff Reform: The Case of Pure Imported Intermediate Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 615-25, June.
  9. Diewert, W E & Turunen-Red, A H & Woodland, A D, 1989. "Productivity- and Pareto-Improving Changes in Taxes and Tariffs," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 199-215, April.
  10. Bertrand, Trent J & Vanek, Jaroslav, 1971. "The Theory of Tariffs, Taxes, and Subsidies: Some Aspects of the Second Best," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(5), pages 925-31, December.
  11. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. Bruno, Michael, 1972. "Market Distortions and Gradual Reform," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 373-83, July.
  13. Foster, Edward & Sonnenschein, Hugo, 1970. "Price Distortion and Economic Welfare," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(2), pages 281-97, March.
  14. Rod Falvey, 1994. "Revenue enhancing tariff reform," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 175-190, March.
  15. Abe, Kenzo, 1992. "Tariff Reform in a Small Open Economy with Public Production," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(1), pages 209-22, February.
  16. Ballard, Charles L & Shoven, John B & Whalley, John, 1985. "General Equilibrium Computations of the Marginal Welfare Costs of Taxes in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 128-38, March.
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