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Aspects of the Theory of Tariffs (Collected Works of Harry Johnson) by Harry Johnson

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3.    Tariffs and Economic Development: Some Theoretical Issues*1

I. INTRODUCTION

In the course of the past thirty-five years, prevailing opinion among economists regarding the influence of commercial policy on economic development has changed radically. The central tradition of economics, set by the English classical economists, viewed free trade as a potent engine for economic growth, and protection as a policy making for waste of resources and the impediment of economic development. The classical advocacy of free trade evolved out of Adam Smith’s attack on mercantilism. On the theoretical side it rested not only on the static theory of comparative advantage developed by Ricardo and Mill, but on a broader sociological recognition of the beneficial ...

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