Metzler paradox

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In economics, the Metzler paradox (named after the American economist Lloyd Metzler) is the theoretical possibility that the imposition of a tariff on imports may reduce the relative internal price of that good.[1] It was proposed by Lloyd Metzler in 1949 upon examination of tariffs within the Heckscher–Ohlin model.[2] The paradox has roughly the same status as immiserizing growth and a transfer that makes the recipient worse off.[3]

The strange result could occur if the exporting country's offer curve is very inelastic. In this case, the tariff lowers the duty-free cost of the price of the import by such a great degree that the effect of the improvement of the tariff-imposing countries' terms of trade on relative prices exceeds the amount of the tariff. Such a tariff would not protect the industry competing with the imported goods.

It is deemed to be unlikely in practice.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Casas, François R.; Choi, Eun K. (1985). "The Metzler Paradox and the Non-equivalence of Tariffs and Quotas: Further Results". Journal of Economic Studies. 12 (5): 53–57. doi:10.1108/eb002612.
  2. ^ Metzler, Lloyd A. (1949). "Tariffs, the Terms of Trade, and the Distribution of National Income". Journal of Political Economy. 57 (1): 1–29. doi:10.1086/256766.
  3. ^ Krugman and Obstfeld (2003), p. 112
  4. ^ de Haan, Werner A.; Visser, Patrice (December 1979). "A note on tariffs, quotas, and the Metzler Paradox: An alternative approach". Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv. 115 (4): 736–741. doi:10.1007/bf02696743.
  5. ^ Krugman and Obstfeld (2003), p. 113

Further reading[edit]