Illusory Revenues: Tariffs in Resource-Rich and Aid-Rich Economies
Where imports are financed predominantly by rents from resource extraction or aid, the revenue generated by tariffs is illusory. Reveue earned by the tariff is offset by a reduction in the real value of aid and resource rents. Revenue is however moved between accounts in the government budget which, in the case of aid, may reduce the burden of donor conditionality. We domonstrate this proposition and its qualifications analytically and by simulating the effects of tariffs on revenue, real income, and export diversification for a range of cases. Whereas countires in which tariff revenue is illusory should adopt more liberal trade regimes, we show that currently there is no such tendency.
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