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Optimal Tariffs with FDI: The Evidence

  • Bruce Blonigen

    (University of Oregon)

  • Matthew T Cole

    (University College Dublin)

Recent theoretical work suggests that the presence of foreign direct investment (FDI) lowers a country’s noncooperative Nash tariff. To test this hypothesis, we first adapt the theoretical model formulated by Blanchard (2010) to derive an intuitive, empirically testable equation. This equation is an augmentation of the standard formula equal to the inverse of export supply elasticity. Using constructed estimates of export supply elasticities and measures of FDI, we test this hypothesis with respect to tariffs set by China prior to 2001. We focus on China before its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO) for two primary reasons: first, China is a recipient of FDI during this time; and second, prior to becoming a WTO member China can be seen as a player in a noncooperative game. We find evidence to suggest that before entering the WTO, China chooses lower tariffs, ceteris paribus, for industries that receive more FDI. This is an important result since having a better understanding of how countries act unilaterally will provide insight into the multilateral cooperative outcome; that is trade negotiations.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/WP11_21.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
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Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201121.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 30 Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201121
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Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/economics

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  1. Blonigen, Bruce A & Figlio, David N, 1998. "Voting for Protection: Does Direct Foreign Investment Influence Legislator Behavior?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 1002-14, September.
  2. Ellingsen, T. & Wärneryd, K.E., 1993. "Foreign direct investment and the political economy of protection," Discussion Paper 1993-8, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Ignatius J. Horstmann & James R. Markusen, 1990. "Endogenous Market Structures in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 3283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1993. "Trade Wars and Trade Talks," NBER Working Papers 4280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cole, Matthew T. & Davies, Ronald B., 2011. "Strategic tariffs, tariff jumping, and heterogeneous firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 480-496, May.
  6. Bhagwati, Jagdish N. & Brecher, Richard A. & Dinopoulos, Elias & Srinivasan, T. N., 1987. "Quid pro quo foreign investment and welfare : A political-economy-theoretic model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 127-138, October.
  7. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Phillip McCalman, 2004. "Protection for Sale and Trade Liberalization: an Empirical Investigation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 81-94, 02.
  9. Matschke, Xenia & Blanchard, Emily, 2013. "U.S. Multinationals and Preferential Market Access," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79751, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  10. Svetlana Demidova & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2007. "Trade Policy under Firm-Level Heterogeneity in a Small Economy," NBER Working Papers 13688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. J. Bhagwati & R. Brecher, 1978. "National Welfare in an Open Economy in the Presence of Foreign Owned Factors of Production," Working papers 224, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. Christian Broda & Joshua Greenfield & David Weinstein, 2006. "From Groundnuts to Globalization: A Structural Estimate of Trade and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Blanchard Emily J, 2007. "Foreign Direct Investment, Endogenous Tariffs, and Preferential Trade Agreements," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-52, November.
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