Is Tariff Reduction a Viable Strategy for Economic Growth in the Periphery? An Examination of Tariff Interaction Effects in 69 Less Developed Countries
AbstractConventional economic wisdom maintains that the reduction of domestic import restrictions assists in the development of less developed countries. But far from being a settled debate, the empirical research on tariffs and economic growth is much more controversial than is commonly recognized. In fact, so contentious and unsettled is this mode of inquiry that the research of some scholars directly contradicts the findings of others. In light of this difficulty encountered by researchers, the current study argues that the tariff~growth link is best analyzed by exploring the conditional effect of import restrictions on the development of low-income countries. Utilizing a panel dataset with information for 69 less developed countries, the results of this investigation show that tariff interactions with domestic investment and labor participation, respectively, augments the growth-generating impact of these variables. In addition, the constituent terms reveal that domestic investment and labor-force participation produces robust negative associations with economic growth when removing their tariff contingent effects. Taken as a whole, the evidence illustrates the value of exploring the indirect relationship between tariffs and economic growth as well as the potential usefulness of restrictive import policies for development in the periphery.
Copyright (c) 2015 Roy Kwon
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