NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff: A Quantitative Assessment

Douglas A. Irwin

NBER Working Paper No. 5509
Issued in March 1996
NBER Program(s):   ITI   DAE

In the two years after the imposition of the Smoot-Hawley tariff in June 1930, the volume of U.S. imports fell over 40 percent. To what extent can this collapse of trade be attributed to the tariff itself versus other factors such as declining income or foreign retaliation? Partial and general equilibrium assessments indicate that the Smoot-Hawley tariff itself reduced imports by 4-8 percent (ceteris paribus), although the combination of specific duties and deflation further raised the effective tariff and reduced imports an additional 8-10 percent. A counter-factual simulation suggests that nearly a quarter of the observed 40 percent decline in imports can be attributed to the rise in the effective tariff, (i.e., Smoot-Hawley plus deflation).

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5509

Published: Review of Economics and Statistics (May 1998). citation courtesy of

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