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Protection and the Business Cycle

  • Kyle Bagwell
  • Robert W. Staiger

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 examime 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 supposr 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 than 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.

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File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1130.pdf
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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1130.

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Date of creation: May 1995
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1130
Contact details of provider: Postal: Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, Northwestern University, 580 Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2014
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Web page: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/
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  1. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1992. "Protection For Sale," NBER Working Papers 4149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  3. Hansen, John Mark, 1990. "Taxation and the political economy of the tariff," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(04), pages 527-551, September.
  4. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1996. "Reciprocal Trade Liberalization," Discussion Papers 1150, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. David Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Finn E. Kydland, 1992. "Dynamics of the Trade Balance and the Terms of Trade: The S-Curve," NBER Working Papers 4242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W, 1990. "A Theory of Managed Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 779-95, September.
  7. repec:att:wimass:9504 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
  9. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1995. "Collusion Over the Business Cycle," Discussion Papers 1118, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Danthine, J.P. & Donaldson, J.B., 1991. "Methodological and Empirical Issues in Real Business Cycle Theory," Papers fb-_91-11, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  11. Abreu, Dilip, 1986. "Extremal equilibria of oligopolistic supergames," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 191-225, June.
  12. Bohara, Alok K & Kaempfer, William H, 1991. "A Test of Tariff Endogeneity in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 952-60, September.
  13. Baldwin, Richard, 1987. "Politically realistic objective functions and trade policy PROFs and tariffs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 287-290.
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