The paper models export taxation of a primary commodity in a large country under two hypotheses about the structure of its export market. The first is perfect competition among exporters, where there is an indefinite number of buyers of the local product and at least a partial pass-through of international prices to local producers. The second is an oligopsony, a market structure in some low-income countries where numerous scattered local producers face a few powerful exporters that can influence domestic prices. For both hypotheses, export taxation can be justified on efficiency grounds only for the country that adopts the tax. Designed correctly, a low export tax may be welfare-enhancing for that country but will always be welfare-reducing for its trading partners. The models of export taxation for both hypotheses are calibrated for the illustrative case of cocoa exports from Côte d’Ivoire.
Preference erosion has become an obstacle to multilateral trade liberalization, as beneficiaries of trade preferences have an incentive to resist reductions in mostfavored- nation (MFN) tariffs. This study identifies middle-income developing countries that are vulnerable to export revenue loss from preference erosion. It concludes that the problem is heavily concentrated in a sub-set of preference beneficiaries-primarily small island economies dependent on sugar, banana, and-to a lesser extent-textile exports. Accordingly, measures to help mitigate the impact of preference erosion can be closely targeted at the countries at risk.
THE DEVALUATIONS of September 1949 stand in sharp contrast to those of the thirties in that nearly all of them took place within a short period of time and were not, as in the thirties, carried through piecemeal.1 This makes it possible to construct a simple theoretical model by means of which the impact of devaluation on the prices of raw materials may be studied. A formula may be derived for the estimation of this effect and, under certain conditions which can be regarded as normal, this formula depends only on the extent of the devaluation and the relative shares of the devaluing and non-devaluing areas in the total supply of and demand for the product under consideration. In theory, the effect also depends on the elasticities of demand and supply in the devaluing and non-devaluing areas. In fact, however, for commodities of which less than one fourth of the combined supplies of the two areas is traded between the areas, the influence of different elasticities on the effect of the devaluation is slight. Consequently, as long as less than one quarter of the total supply moves between the two areas, the simplified formula provides a satisfactory approximation.
OVER THE LAST TWENTY YEARS, and especially since the end of World War II, there have appeared a large number of statistical estimates of the numerical values to be assigned to the main structural parameters governing international trade relationships, i.e., the various foreign trade “elasticities” and “propensities.” These estimates, which are of importance to all those concerned with studying the mechanism of balance of payments adjustments, are, however, scattered in many publications. An economist interested in knowing, for instance, the magnitude of the income elasticity of demand for imports by a certain country, or the price elasticity of its demand for the import of a certain commodity, might have some difficulty in tracking down the various estimates that have been made. There is as yet no published study that gathers together existing estimates of elasticities and propensities on international trade and presents them in a systematic way for convenient reference.