Monthly Archives: December 2009

What explains tariff levels?

It’s not eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy (or even neces­si­ty) as much as the polit­i­cal econ­o­my that dri­ves trade poli­cies.

“The rela­tion­ship between the over­all tar­iff pol­i­cy (con­sid­er­ing all prod­uct groups togeth­er) and the socio-eco­nom­ic vari­ables is even more dif­fuse, and no strong rela­tion­ship emerges between tar­iff pol­i­cy clus­ters and the socio-eco­nom­ic con­text. Con­se­quent­ly, we can con­clude that trade pol­i­cy is not over-deter­mined by eco­nom­ic con­sid­er­a­tions: the deci­sion-mak­ing process defin­ing a pre­cise trade pol­i­cy is the result of more com­plex inter­ac­tions.” Extract from Map­ping the Tar­iff Waters by Diakan­toni and Escaith (WTO Eco­nom­ic Research Divi­sion)
A plau­si­ble, even unex­cit­ing, con­clu­sion. But an inter­est­ing map­ping of glob­al tar­iff data.