DP2937 | Time-Consistent Protection with Learning by Doing

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02/09/2001

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Abstract

Can a government induce efficiency gains in domestic industry by protecting it against foreign competition? Would such trade protection be time-consistent? The present Paper builds a dynamic equilibrium model that accounts for learning-by-doing effects that link firms' strategies over time. The model shows that the existence of dynamic economies of scale suffices to overcome the traditional government's lack of commitment to its tariff policy. This Paper compares the infinite horizon Markov Perfect Equilibria of this game with the dynamic equilibrium under commitment as well as the static Nash equilibrium. Equilibrium strategies are derived in closed form by solving a linear-quadratic differential game. Optimal trade policy involves higher tariff levels than in the static setup in order to account for future gains in efficiency.