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Trade Wars: Canada's Reaction to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff

Judith A. McDonald, Anthony Patrick O'Brien and Colleen M. Callahan
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 57, No. 4 (Dec., 1997), pp. 802-826
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2951161
Page Count: 25
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Trade Wars: Canada's Reaction to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff
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Abstract

Strange as it seems, the infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff might have had an expansionary effect on the U.S. economy. Basic macroeconomic principles indicate that the direct effect of a tariff increase is expansionary. This expansionary effect might be offset by retaliatory increases in foreign tariffs. Barry Eichengreen has recently questioned whether significant retaliation to Smoot-Hawley occurred. This article demonstrates that the tariff increases enacted during 1930 in Canada--the largest trading partner of the United States--were in direct response to Smoot-Hawley. The conventional wisdom that Smoot-Hawley hurt the U.S. economy may be right after all.

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