CoPS/IMPACT Working Paper Number G-177

Title: Welfare effects of unilateral changes in tariffs: the case of Motor vehicles and parts in Australia

Authors: Peter B. Dixon and Maureen T. Rimmer


We derive formulas for the optimal tariff rate in four theoretical models. We start with a model in which industries are competitive and then successively allow for: monopoly pricing by export industries; revenue-replacement costs; and cold-shower effects. The theoretical formulas accurately explain results from MONASH, a detailed CGE model. A critical parameter in determining the optimal tariff is the export-demand elasticity. Modellers are often reluctant to adopt empirically justifiable values for export-demand elasticities because such values generate embarrassingly large optimal tariff rates. A way out of this dilemma is the adoption of a non-linear cold-shower specification.

JEL classification:F13, F14, C68.

Keywords: optimal tariff, export-demand elasticities, cold-shower effect, monopoly pricing, revenue-replacement costs.

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