IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/8739.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Interpreting the Tariff-Growth Correlation of the Late Nineteenth Century

Author

Listed:
  • Douglas A. Irwin

Abstract

Recent research has documented a positive relationship between tariffs and growth in the late nineteenth century. Such a correlation does not establish a causal relationship between tariffs and growth, but it is tempting to view the correlation as constituting evidence that protectionist or inward-oriented trade strategies were successful during this period. This paper argues that such a conclusion is unwarranted and that the tariff-growth correlation should be interpreted with care. First, several individual country experiences in the late nineteenth century are not consistent with the view that import substitution promoted growth. For example, the two most rapidly expanding, high tariff countries of the period Argentina and Canada grew because capital imports helped stimulate export-led growth in agricultural staples products, not because of protectionist trade policies. Second, most land-abundant countries (such as Argentina and Canada) imposed high tariffs to raise government revenue, and revenue tariffs have a different structure than protective tariffs. The fact that labor-scarce, land-abundant countries had a high potential for growth and also tended to impose high revenue-generating tariffs confounds the inference that high tariffs were responsible for their strong economic performance during this period.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas A. Irwin, 2002. "Interpreting the Tariff-Growth Correlation of the Late Nineteenth Century," NBER Working Papers 8739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8739
    Note: DAE ITI
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8739.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Estevadeordal, Antoni, 1997. "Measuring protection in the early twentieth century," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 89-125, April.
    2. Morris, Cynthia Taft & Adelman, Irma, 1989. "Nineteenth-century development experience and lessons for today," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(9), pages 1417-1432, September.
    3. O'Rourke, Kevin H, 2000. "Tariffs and Growth in the Late 19th Century," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 456-483, April.
    4. Krueger, Anne O, 1997. "Trade Policy and Economic Development: How We Learn," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 1-22, March.
    5. Irwin, Douglas A., 1993. "Free Trade and Protection in Nineteenth-Century Britain and France Revisited: A Comment on Nye," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(01), pages 146-152, March.
    6. Douglas A. Irwin, 2001. "Tariffs and Growth in Late Nineteenth Century America," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(1), pages 15-30, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8739. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.