From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System


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Remarks and Statements

Tufte , Edward R. See, for example, Schattschneider , , Politics, Pressures and the Tariff , pp. Thus, the analysis presented here differs from most studies of tariff policy, and not only because it is quantitative. Only a handful of quantitative studies examine policy variations over time. Mc Keown and Gallarotti each present a bivariate analysis of longitudinal data. Baack and Ray conduct their analysis across industries at three historical junctures, while Conybeare conducts his across nations at two junctures. Closest in empirical spirit to the study presented here is the analysis of Magee and Young, which aggregates by presidential administration for the years to In contrast to these earlier works, the empirical analysis offered here takes legislative acts as its cases, examines a longer period of time, and tests different hypotheses.

In fact, the federal government enacted twenty-eight general tariff bills in that time, including three in and two in Because the data on which the analysis is based are yearly, it is impossible to distinguish acts that occur in the same year. Foreign Economic Policy. In conducting the analysis, I was attentive to the possibility that years in which tariff legislation passed might be systematically different from years in which it did not.

Nonrandom selection into the sample is a problem if the error term of the selection equation is correlated with the error term of the outcome equation in this case, if the unincluded factors that lead to passage of a general tariff bill are associated with the unincluded factors that influence the magnitude of the tariff revision. In the presence of nonrandom selection with correlated errors, the direct application of ordinary least squares to the outcome equation yields biased and inconsistent estimates see Achen , Christopher H. Consequently, I initially estimated a two-stage selection model for censored samples.

These analyses found no evidence of selection bias; in the outcome equation, the coefficient for the sample selection term was dwarfed by its standard error. Rather than introduce needless complexity, therefore, I omit the selection equation and report only the outcome equation. The validity of average ad valorem rates as measures of protection has sometimes been challenged. The problem is that they indicate nominal rather than effective rates of duty. Two points need to be made in their defense.

First, even if they are not perfect measures of changes in protection, they are still good ones.


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They have the singular virtue of weighting each duty by its importance in consumption, allowing the analyst to judge the overall character of the legislation even if some duties go up and others go down. As measures of policy change, they are at least as valid as, say, Taussig's judgments.

Second, and more important, even if nominal rates measure effective rates with error, their use does not necessarily jeopardize the conclusions of the analysis. Errors in measurement of a dependent variable undermine the efficiency of ordinary least squares estimates, but they do not bias the coefficients. The second equation, in fact, is a bit superfluous.

The two dependent variables are related to one another by the inverse of the change in the proportion of imports subject to duty. Thus, the coefficients estimated from the two equations are related by the same quantity if all the independent variables are truly exogenous. In this case, however, some of the independent variables are probably not wholly exogenous; some of the independent variables likely cause other independent variables. Unfortunately, I do not have the data necessary to unpack all those relationships. Thus, the specifications of the two equations and the coefficients are slightly different, although the variations make theoretical sense and conform to expectations.

This finding is subject to several indistinguishable interpretations, based as it is on aggregate data. The interpretation given here is best understood as the complement to these interpretations. In addition, the greatly worsened performance of U.

As before, the finding is subject to several indistinguishable interpretations. One line of argument highlights the changes in pressure group demands that result from changes in economic interest. Each arrives at the same conclusion as the median voter argument offered here. For the most part. Democratic presidents signify Democratic congresses as well. Passage of tariff legislation when control of the government was divided was quite uncommon. Of the twenty-eight general tariff bills approved from to , only two won passage when control was split.

See Witte , John F. The Smoot-Hawley bill is so often presented as an exemplar of universalist politics that it is well to recall the sharp partisanship involved in its passage. In the House, 95 percent of the Republicans voted or paired for the bill, while 86 percent of the Democrats voted or paired against it. In the Senate, 89 percent of the Republicans indicated support, while 77 percent of the Democrats indicated opposition. The votes on the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act in were just as partisan.

Secondary Nav

Schattschneider , , Politics, Pressures and the Tariff , pp. Of course, these were major products of the Democratic South. In this interaction term, the percentage of funds derived from the tariff is a five-year moving average beginning at time t. This allows policymakers to anticipate the consequences of enacting new taxes, especially at major turning points such as and As it happens, in all instances before the Civil War, Democrats presided over surpluses and Whigs over deficits. In all instances after World War I, on the other hand, Democrats presided over deficits and Republicans over surpluses.

Thus, the argument faces a more exacting test later than it does earlier. In between, however, the argument works perfectly. Every time Republicans ran a surplus between and , they lowered tariff rates, with one exception. That was in , a deficit year, when Republican progressives, allied with Democrats, forced Republican stalwarts to lower tariffs, in defiance of both fiscal and partisan logic. Schattschneider , , Politics, Pressures and the Tariff , p.

What might have happened had the United States enjoyed hegemony before it cut itself loose from tariff revenues is an interesting but moot question. The more serious issue is the relationship between trade interests and the adoption of the income tax.

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The tariff was central, of course, to the debates over the income tax, but concerns about its impact on trade were entirely eclipsed by concerns about its incidence see Witte , , The Politics and Development of the Federal Income Tax , pp. Income Tax , pp. Baack and Ray, however, offer an account of the triumph of the income tax that introduces trade considerations much more obliquely.

They attribute the success of the 16th Amendment to the support of maritime interests, which sought the revenues necessary to maintain a global navy. See Baack , Bennett D. Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

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State interference in international trade

Log in. Aa Aa. Cited by 24 Cited by. Crossref Citations. This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef. Levi, Margaret Book Reviews. Comparative Political Studies, Vol. Epstein, David and O'Halloran, Sharyn The partisan paradox and the U. International Organization, Vol. Mayhew, David R. Electoral Realignments. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. McDonald, Patrick J.

From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System
From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System
From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System
From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System
From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System
From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System
From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System
From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System

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