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Bolivian Tariff Policy during the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries: High Average Tariff and Unbalanced Regional Protection

Abstract
Abstract

This article demonstrates that Bolivian tariff policy during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was not as passive as previously assumed and that the average tariff ratio remained high. However, high average tariffs coexisted for a long time with free-entry rights for different products which represented the main economic activity of certain Bolivian regions. Furthermore, the competitiveness of products was sometimes mostly determined by the geographic fragmentation of the country and the uneven pattern of railway construction rather by than tariffs. Therefore, beyond its high average level, the protectionist effect of tariffs was sometimes constrained by institutional and geographical restrictions.

Spanish abstract

Este artículo demuestra que la política tarifaria boliviana al final del siglo XIX y comienzos del XX no fue tan pasiva como se asumió previamente y que el rango tarifario promedio permaneció alto. Sin embargo, las tarifas altas coexistieron por un periodo largo con los derechos de entrada libre de diferentes productos que constituían la mayor actividad económica de ciertas regiones bolivianas. Aún más, en ciertos casos, la fragmentación geográfica del país y el patrón desigual de la construcción ferroviaria fueron más determinantes que las tarifas en establecer la competitividad de estos productos. Por lo tanto, más allá de este nivel alto en promedio, el efecto proteccionista de las tarifas fue en algunas ocasiones limitado por las restricciones institucionales y geográficas.

Portuguese abstract

Este artigo demonstra que, durante o final do século XIX e princípio do século XX, a política tarifária boliviana não foi tão passiva quanto se pensava anteriormente e que a tarifa média permaneceu alta. No entanto, médias tarifárias elevadas coexistiram por muito tempo com os direitos de livre entrada de diferentes produtos que representavam a principal atividade econômica de algumas regiões bolivianas. Ademais, em certas ocasiões, a competitividade de determinados produtos era determinada principalmente pela fragmentação geográfica do país e pelo padrão desigual de construção de ferrovias e não pelas tarifas. Deste modo, além dos níveis médios elevados, o efeito protecionista das tarifas foi por vezes limitado pelas restrições institucionais e geográficas.

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Journal of Latin American Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-216X
  • EISSN: 1469-767X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-latin-american-studies
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