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Tariff Incidence: Evidence from U.S. Sugar Duties, 1890–1914

Douglas A. Irwin

Abstract:

Do domestic consumers or foreign exporters bear the burden of a tariff on imports? This paper uses a unique set of high-frequency (weekly/daily) data on the landed and the duty-inclusive price of raw sugar in New York City from 1890 to 1914 to help provide an answer. Tariff reductions are immediately passed through to consumer prices, but only about 40 percent of tariff increases are passed through. The apparent explanation is the asymmetric response of demand: imports collapse upon a tariff increase but fail to surge after a tariff reduction.

Citation

Douglas A. Irwin (2019), Tariff Incidence: Evidence from U.S. Sugar Duties, 1890–1914 , National Tax Journal, 72:3, pp. 599-616

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2019.3.05