NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Antebellum Tariff on Cotton Textiles Revisited

Douglas A. Irwin, Peter Temin

NBER Working Paper No. 7825
Issued in August 2000
NBER Program(s):   DAE   ITI

Recent research has suggested that the antebellum U.S. cotton textile industry would have been wiped out had it not received tariff protection. We reaffirm Taussig's judgment that the U.S. cotton textile industry was largely independent of the tariff by the 1830s. American and British producers specialized in quite different types of textile products that were poor substitutes for one another. The Walker tariff of 1846, for example, reduced the duties on cotton textiles from nearly 70 percent to 25 percent and imports soared as a result, but there was little change in domestic production. Using data from 1826 to 1860, we estimate the responsiveness of domestic production to fluctuations in import prices and conclude that the industry could have survived even if the tariff had been completely eliminated.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7825

Published: Irwin, Douglas A. and Peter Temin. "The Antebellum Tariff On Cotton Textiles Revisited," Journal of Economic History, 2001, v61(3,Sep), 777-798. citation courtesy of

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