Bairoch Revisited: Tariff Structure and Growth in the Late Nineteenth Century Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2010

start page

  • 111

end page

  • 143


  • 1


  • 14

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1361-4916

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1474-0044


  • This article revisits Bairoch's hypothesis that in the late nineteenth century tariffs were positively associated with growth, as recently confirmed by a new generation of quantitative studies (see O'Rourke
    2000; Jacks 2006; Clemens and Williamson 2002, 2004). This article
    highlights the importance of the structure of protection in the relation
    between trade policy and its potential growth-promoting impact.
    Evidence is based on a new database on industrial tariffs for the 1870s.
    The results show that income, factor endowment and policy independence
    are important for explaining regional asymmetries between tariffs and
    growth. At a global level, increased protection, measured by total and
    average tariffs on manufactures, implied more unskilled inefficient
    protection and less growth, and this is especially true for the poor
    countries in the late nineteenth century. Protection was only positive
    for a 'rich club' if we include in this group new settler countries,
    which grew rapidly in the late nineteenth century and imposed high
    tariffs mainly for fiscal reasons.