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Tariffs, Trade and Economic Growth in a Institutionals Quality

Azam Chaudhry

Lahore Journal of Economics, 2011, vol. 16, issue 2, 31-54

Abstract: This article shows how institutional quality can affect the relationship between trade and growth. Our model looks at an economy in which the export sector is a high-innovation sector. In this economy, a government that is politically threatened by innovation can use its tariff policy to block innovation and increase domestic revenues. In this case, higher tariffs reduce economic growth and the government faces a tradeoff: It can either (i) raise tariffs, collect greater rents, and increase stability; or (ii) it can reduce tariffs and increase long-run growth and instability. When the quality of a country’s institutions are reflected in the costs of increasing tariffs, it can be shown that countries with strong institutions gain more (in terms of growth) from trade than countries with weak institutions, due to the effect of institutions on trade policy. It is also possible to show that the quality of institutions in one country can spill over into another by affecting its trading partner’s growth rate of income. However, these results are reversed in the case where a country has a highly innovative domestic sector—this explains the tariff-growth paradox in which countries experience higher growth with higher tariffs in earlier stages of development, but higher growth with lower tariffs in later stages of development.

Keywords: Economic growth; institutions; trade; tariffs. capital; economic growth. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O41 O43 E1 F13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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