General equilibrium effects of import constraints under variable labour supply, public goods and income taxation
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We consider a general equilibrium trade model of a small open economy with a representative consumer, where labour supply is variable, where imports are restricted by a small tariff, a quota or a voluntary export restraint (VER), and where alongside the production of two traded goods-one imported and one exported-a pure public good is produced and funded through an income tax. Within this framework, we demonstrate, among other things, that under certain conditions, while a small tariff or quota reduces employment and welfare, a VER may increase them. Thus, in the context of a small open economy, contrary to standard results, in certain cases VERs may become the welfare- and employment-dominant instrument over the alternative import restrictions.