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Optimum Tariffs and Retaliation: How Country Numbers Matter

  • Ben Zissimos


    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

This paper identifies a new terms-of-trade externality that is exercised through tariff setting. A North-South model of international trade is introduced in which the number of countries in each region can be varied. As the number of countries in one region is increased, each government there competes more aggressively with the others in its region, by lowering its tariff, to attract imports from the other region. In doing so, all countries in a region exert a negative terms-of-trade externality on each other, collectively undermining their own terms of trade and welfare. This externality can increase efficiency if the numbers of countries in both regions are increased simultaneously.

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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0904.

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Date of creation: Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0904
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  1. Tower, Edward, 1975. "The Optimum Quota and Retaliation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 623-30, October.
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  4. Syropoulos, Constantinos, 2002. "Optimum Tariffs and Retaliation Revisited: How Country Size Matters," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(3), pages 707-27, July.
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  9. Davis, Donald R, 1997. "Critical Evidence on Comparative Advantage? North-North Trade in a Multilateral World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 1051-60, October.
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  13. Christian Broda & Nuno Limao & David E. Weinstein, 2008. "Optimal Tariffs and Market Power: The Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2032-65, December.
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  15. Corden, W.M., 1984. "The normative theory of international trade," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 63-130 Elsevier.
  16. Baldwin, Richard, 1987. "Politically realistic objective functions and trade policy PROFs and tariffs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 287-290.
  17. Gros, Daniel, 1987. "A note on the optimal tariff, retaliation and the welfare loss from tariff wars in a framework with intra-industry trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 357-367, November.
  18. Otani, Yoshihiko, 1980. "Strategic Equilibrium of Tariffs and General Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 643-62, April.
  19. Amir, Rabah & Bloch, Francis, 2009. "Comparative statics in a simple class of strategic market games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 7-24, January.
  20. Bond, Eric W. & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 1996. "The size of trading blocs Market power and world welfare effects," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 411-437, May.
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