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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://www.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. Matthew T. Cole, 2011. "Distorted Trade Barriers," Working Papers 201105, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2015. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 3183-3221, October.
  4. Neary, J. Peter, 1994. "Cost asymmetries in international subsidy games: Should governments help winners or losers?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3-4), pages 197-218, November.
  5. Philipp J. H. Schröder & Allan Sørensen, 2014. "A Welfare Ranking of Multilateral Reductions in Real and Tariff Trade Barriers when Firms are Heterogenous," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 423-443, 08.
  6. 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.
  7. Matthieu Crozet & Pamina Koenig, 2010. "Structural gravity equations with intensive and extensive margins," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(1), pages 41-62, February.
  8. 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.
  9. Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare & Costas Arkolakis, 2010. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," 2010 Meeting Papers 433, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Costinot, Arnaud & Rodriguez-Clare, Andres, 2013. "Trade Theory with Numbers: Quantifying the Consequences of Globalization," CEPR Discussion Papers 9398, 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. 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.
  13. Edward J. Balistreri & Russell H. Hillberry & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2008. "Structural Estimation and Solution of International Trade Models with Heterogeneous Firms," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1056, The University of Melbourne.
  14. Edward J. Balistreri & James R. Markusen, 2007. "Sub-national Differentiation and the Role of the Firm in Optimal International Pricing," NBER Working Papers 13130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. Ralph Ossa, 2012. "Why Trade Matters After All," NBER Working Papers 18113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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