The Structure of Protection and Growth in the Late 19th Century
Many papers have explored the relationship between average tariff rates and economic growth, when theory suggests that the structure of protection is what should matter. We therefore explore the relationship between economic growth and agricultural tariffs, industrial tariffs, and revenue tariffs, for a sample of relatively well-developed countries between 1875 and 1913. Industrial tariffs were positively correlated with growth. Agricultural tariffs were negatively correlated with growth, although the relationship was often statistically insignificant at conventional levels. There was no relationship between revenue tariffs and growth.
We are grateful to the following for help with the data, encouragement, and advice: Frank Barry, Catia Batista, Jan Bohlin, Maarten Bosker, Steve Broadberry, Michael Clemens, Neil Cummins, Giovanni Federico, Vahagn Galstyan, Ola Grytten, Ingrid Henriksen, Patrick Honohan, Michael Huberman, David Jacks, Danielle Kedan, Jan Tore Klovland, Philip Lane, Alan Matthews, Peter McQuade, Chris Meissner, Chris Minns, Dani Rodrik, Donato De Rosa, Gianfranco de Simone, Alan Taylor, Antonio Tena, Elisabetta Trevisan, Oliver Volckart and Jeff Williamson. We received many useful comments at the 7th Conference of the European Historical Economics Society, Lund, June 29-July 1, 2007; at the 6th World Congress of Cliometrics, Edinburgh, July 17-20 2008; at the Economic History Association meetings, New Haven, September 12-14, 2008; and at seminars in Lausanne and Trinity College Dublin. The paper was written while O'Rourke was a Government of Ireland Senior Research Fellow, and we thank the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences for their generous financial support. A special word of thanks is due to Barry Comerford, for all his efforts with the tariff data, and to Doug Irwin, our EHA discussant. Needless to say, the usual disclaimer applies. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
May 2011, Vol. 93, No. 2, Pages 606-616 Posted Online April 26, 2011. (doi:10.1162/REST_a_00104) © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology The Structure of Protection and Growth in the Late Nineteenth Century Sibylle H. Lehmann Universität Köln Kevin H. O'Rourke