NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Global Supply Chains and Trade Policy

Emily J. Blanchard, Chad P. Bown, Robert C. Johnson

NBER Working Paper No. 21883
Issued in January 2016
NBER Program(s):International Trade and Investment

How do global supply chain linkages modify countries' incentives to impose import protection? Are these linkages empirically important determinants of trade policy? To address these questions, we introduce supply chain linkages into a workhorse terms-of-trade model of trade policy with political economy. Theory predicts that discretionary final goods tariffs will be decreasing in the domestic content of foreign-produced final goods. Provided foreign political interests are not too strong, final goods tariffs will also be decreasing in the foreign content of domestically-produced final goods. We test these predictions using newly assembled data on bilateral applied tariffs, temporary trade barriers, and value-added contents for 14 major economies over the 1995-2009 period. We find strong support for the empirical predictions of the model. Our results imply that global supply chains matter for trade policy, both in principle and in practice.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21883

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