Optimum Tariffs and Retaliation: How Country Numbers Matter
This paper presents a North-South model of international trade in which (i) there is a relatively small number of countries in the North and (ii) the North is relatively abundant in capital while the South is relatively abundant in labor. Using new methods in monotone comparative statics, the effect of changes in country numbers on the outcome of a "tariff war" is studied. It is shown that terms-of-trade and welfare in the North are greater the larger the number of countries in the South and vice versa. The paper also studies the relationship between the number of countries in the world market and its performance in terms of efficiency. It is shown that, as the world economy is replicated, the equilibrium in a tariff war converges monotonically towards the competitive equilibrium of free trade.
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