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Icebergs versus Tariffs: A Quantitative Perspective on the Gains from Trade

  • Jung, Benjamin
  • Felbermayr, Gabriel
  • Larch, Mario

We derive a simple equation for the welfare gains from trade when tariffs are liberalized or iceberg trade costs fall. Covering various one-sector trade models that may or may not feature extensive margins and imperfect competition, we generalize the analysis of Arkolakis, Costinot and Rodriguez-Clare (2012) to encompass revenue-generating import tariffs. Our formula permits easy quantification based on countries' observed degrees of openness, their tariff revenues, and gravity elasticities. We show analytically that an analysis based on iceberg costs necessarily underestimates the welfare gains from trade relative to autarky. Our quantitative exercise for 41 countries suggests that the bias can be numerically significant. For countries with relatively high status quo tariffs, our formula predicts 30-60\% larger gains from trade than the icebergs only approach.

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File URL: https://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/79707/1/VfS_2013_pid_292.pdf
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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 79707.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79707
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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  1. Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2011. "Competition , Markups, and the Gains from," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1183, The University of Melbourne, revised 2014.
  2. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2009. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," NBER Working Papers 15628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Demidova, Svetlana & Rodríguez-Clare, Andrés, 2009. "Trade policy under firm-level heterogeneity in a small economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 100-112, June.
  4. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Balistreri, Edward J. & Hillberry, Russell H. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2011. "Structural estimation and solution of international trade models with heterogeneous firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 95-108, March.
  6. Arnaud Costinot & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2013. "Trade Theory with Numbers: Quantifying the Consequences of Globalization," NBER Working Papers 18896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2012. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," NBER Working Papers 18041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Jung, Benjamin & Larch, Mario, 2013. "Optimal tariffs, retaliation, and the welfare loss from tariff wars in the Melitz model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 13-25.
  9. Philipp J.H. Schröder & Allan Sørensen, 2011. "A welfare ranking of multilateral reductions in real and tariff trade barriers when firms are heterogenous," Economics Working Papers 2011-18, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  10. Neary, J Peter, 1991. "Cost Asymmetries in International Subsidy Games: Should Governments Help Winners or Losers?," CEPR Discussion Papers 560, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Costas Arkolakis & Svetlana Demidova & Peter J. Klenow & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2008. "Endogenous Variety and the Gains from Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 444-50, May.
  12. Matthew T. Cole, 2011. "Distorted Trade Barriers," Working Papers 201105, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  13. Matthieu Crozet & Pamina Koenig, 2010. "Structural gravity equation with intensive and extensive margins," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00610937, HAL.
  14. Balistreri, Edward J. & Markusen, James R., 2009. "Sub-national differentiation and the role of the firm in optimal international pricing," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 47-62, January.
  15. Ralph Ossa, 2012. "Why Trade Matters After All," NBER Working Papers 18113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Fernando Alvarez & Robert E. Lucas, 2005. "General Equilibrium Analysis of the Eaton-Kortum Model of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 11764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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