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On the Incidence of US Tariffs

Don Clark and Donald Bruce

The World Economy, 2006, vol. 29, issue 2, 123-135

Abstract: This paper provides evidence on the incidence of tariffs on products of export interest to developing countries by investigating the relationship between per capita incomes of US trading partners and tariff rates. It constitutes the first attempt to assess the incidence of tariffs imposed by the US on countries that span the entire range of per capita incomes. Average tariff rates are lower for the poorest and richest countries and higher for countries in the middle of the income distribution. This finding is not consistent with the widely held view that tariffs used by industrial nations bear more heavily on products of export interest to poorer developing countries than on imports from industrial nations. It is consistent with the tariff escalation pattern reported in earlier studies if advanced countries account for most products at the high end of the fabrication scale. Results show that poorest countries will find it difficult to escape tariffs by attaining higher levels of economic development.

Date: 2006
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https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9701.2006.00774.x

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