Designing Policies to Open Trade
Robert C. Feenstra, Tracy R. Lewis, John McMillan
In this paper we consider recent proposals to auction U.S. import quotas. using the funds so obtained to encourage relocation out of the protected industries. We argue that the information available to the government, or lack thereof, is a critical factor in understanding these policies. In a world or full information, it makes little sense to use auction quotas rather than tariffs. Similarly, it is unclear why an elaborate program of temporary protection is needed, rather than immediately opening trade and compensating people with an income transfer. When the government has Limited information, however, these policies become quite sensible and may even be optimal.
Published: Economics and Politics, 2(3), November 1990, pp. 223-240