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Trade restrictions with imported intermediate inputs : when does the trade balance improve?



The author's model demonstrates that when imports are predominantly intermediate inputs - as they are in most developing countries - import restrictions can not always be relied upon to improve the trade balance. Such restrictions act as a supply shock to the economy. Unless nontraded goods are intensive users of imported intermediaries, the general equilibrium consequence of import restrictions is a large enough reduction in export supplies to swamp the direct effect of the restrictions. The result is a deterioration of the trade balance.

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