The Antebellum Tariff on Cotton Textiles Revisited

29 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2000 Last revised: 7 Mar 2003

See all articles by Douglas A. Irwin

Douglas A. Irwin

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Peter Temin

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: August 2000

Abstract

Recent research has suggested that the antebellum U.S. cotton textile industry would have been wiped out had it not received tariff protection. We reaffirm Taussig's judgment that the U.S. cotton textile industry was largely independent of the tariff by the 1830s. American and British producers specialized in quite different types of textile products that were poor substitutes for one another. The Walker tariff of 1846, for example, reduced the duties on cotton textiles from nearly 70 percent to 25 percent and imports soared as a result, but there was little change in domestic production. Using data from 1826 to 1860, we estimate the responsiveness of domestic production to fluctuations in import prices and conclude that the industry could have survived even if the tariff had been completely eliminated.

Suggested Citation

Irwin, Douglas A. and Temin, Peter, The Antebellum Tariff on Cotton Textiles Revisited (August 2000). NBER Working Paper No. w7825. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=238004

Douglas A. Irwin (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

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Peter Temin

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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