The analysis of the effect of tariffs for labour productivity faces the challenge of tariff policy endogeneity. Tariff policy is designed to promote economic development and the industrial sector tariff structure may reflect characteristics of the industries protected. We seek to identify the effect of tariffs by taking advantage of multilateral tariff liberalization using reductions in industrial sector tariffs in other world regions as instruments for sectoral tariff reductions in South Africa. The data cover 28 manufacturing sectors over the period 1988-2003. We find that tariff reductions have stimulated labour productivity when instrumented by multilateral tariffs. The ordinary least-squares estimates show downward bias and this confirms the endogeneity of tariffs. Investigation of channels of effects shows some support for the importance of competitive pressure and technology spillover from trade liberalization. Copyright (c) 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2010 The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Torfinn Harding, Jørn Rattsø
ERN: Institutions & the Labor Market (Topic)