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CEP discussion paper

Protection and International Sourcing

We study the impact of import protection on relationship-specific investments, organizational choice and welfare. We show that a tariff on intermediate inputs can improve social welfare through mitigating hold-up problems. It does so if it discriminates in favor of the investing party, thereby improving its bargaining position. On the other hand, a tariff can prompt inefficient organizational choices if it discriminates in favor of less productive firms or if integration costs are low. Protection distorts organizational choices because tariff revenue, which is external to the firms, drives a wedge between the private and social gains to offshoring and integration.

Emanuel Ornelas and John L. Turner

December 2008     Paper Number CEPDP0900

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Trade programme.