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Abstract

Should lightly protected industries be given tariff compensation? Reasonable people can and do differ on this issue; neither the case supporting tariff compensation nor that opposing it is fully conclusive. Nevertheless, it is the purpose of this paper to argue that, on balance, the stronger argument is on the negative side. It is argued that economists in particular should focus their limited influence on recommending tariff reductions rather than tariff compensation, but that even if this fails they should be most reluctant to recommend tariff compensation. The potential benefits from tariff compensation are small relative to the gains from tariff reduction but the informational problems of tariff compensation are such as to make even these small potential benefits unlikely in practice.

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