The principle of tariffs dispersion, or differential tariffs depending on country of origin, is well known. For instance, Canada adapted a double column of tariffs after 1846, Spain in 1877, and Switzerland in the 1880–1890s. But there has never before been a comprehensive measure for any national economy, to our knowledge. This contribution proposes an original and exhaustive measure of customs tariffs dispersion depending on the origin of imported products for France between 1850 and 1913. Part of this dispersion arises indirectly as the result of compiling the nomenclature – or the schedule of categories – for France’s general trade chart. Our study nevertheless reveals the existence of direct discriminatory practices applied to certain countries for certain products. The creation of this measure yields important insights. First, tariff dispersion’s evolution completes the analysis of the chronology of trade policy. Second, it is possible to link tariff discrimination, imports in particular sectors, and national production. In our opinion, the paper should pave the way to work that reintroduces a country-specific dimension into the study of late 19th century commercial policy.
The authors thank participants at Economic History Society Congress (Oxford March–April 2012), participants at “European Trade Policies 1850–1913” meeting (Bordeaux March 2013) and J.-P. Dormois, C. Meissner, N. Nenovsky for valuable comments. Special thanks to Susan Wolcott for particularly helpful suggested revisions.
Becuwe, S. and Blancheton, B. (2014), "The dispersion of customs tariffs in France between 1850 and 1913: Discrimination in trade policy", Research in Economic History (Research in Economic History, Vol. 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 163-183. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0363-3268(2014)0000030004Download as .RIS
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