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Smoot Hawley Tariff - Barry Eichengreen

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Political Science
POLI 354
Mark Brawley

The Political Economy of the SmootHawley Tariff Barry Eichengreen SmootHawley didnt cause the great depression but it made it worse Played a was a major contributor in the depth and duration of the Great DepressionOthers argue that world trade was declining anyway SmootHawley was just a sideshow others argue that the tariff may have helped the American economy by offsetting the collapse of prices and stimulating domestic productionSection I Politics and Pressures of the Tariff y Existing explanations for the tariffs imposition are reassessed and found wanting y Schattschneider focused on influence of the rising wellorganized special interest groups over the structure of the SmootHawley tariff Limited protectionism offered to everyone involvedSchattschneider characterized SmootHawley as porkbarrel politics Fails to discuss why the vote fell so closely along party lines y Alternative explanation from PastorSmootHawley was simply an instance of party politics Republicans supported protectionism Republican president in power at the time Problem provides no explanation for Smoot Hawleys timing or its form y Eichengreen thinks the closest argument to explaining his requirements is the view of SmootHawley as a response to the problems of American agriculture depressed world prices and the West winning over the east Consistent with partisan interpretation regional concentrations of democrats and republican voters and explains defections from a number of party ranks Agricultural distress intensified with the onset of the depression which links the tariff to macroeconomic conditionsFails at expliaing why tariffs on manufactured goods were raised as part of an agrarian relief measure or why those in industrial regions also supported the tariffSection II A Model of the TariffMaking Processy Looks at Gerschenkrons modelo A tariff is adopted interest groups combine in its support o Industry is distinguished by size agriculture by region Different interests within different groups o Farmers along the Canadian border and eastern seaboard desired higher protection hard to get because they were minority Light industries producing highquality products also wanted protection though neither group supported protection for the other theywere willing to support each other to participate in a coalition y Explains why divisions fell within agricultural and industrial blocs instead of just between Consistent with logrolling theory alliance of protectionists
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